Home » Politics » Jury's out: a checklist of Modi-Nitish punches in Bihar

Jury's out: a checklist of Modi-Nitish punches in Bihar

Panini Anand | Updated on: 13 February 2017, 3:46 IST

Modi\'s day out

  • Prime Minister Narendra Modi held 2 rallies in Bihar on Tuesday
  • He announced a package of Rs 1.25 lakh crore for the poll-bound state
  • Modi called the govt led by bete noire Nitish Kumar \'arrogant\'

Nitish punches back

  • The Bihar CM hit back, asking what was special about the package
  • The money was anyway less than what the state had asked for, he said
  • Nitish called Modi\'s deal a compilation of existing commitments

On Tuesday, Narendra Modi announced a "special package" of Rs 1.25 lakh crore for Bihar, said the current Nitish Kumar government was arrogant and sought popular support to create a naya Bihar. But what's new in the package, asked Kumar?

Modi was at an official event for inaugurating highway projects in Ara. He later addressed another rally in Saharsa. The tenor of his speech made it evident that Assembly elections were 'round the corner.

The Bihar chief minister was in no mood to let Modi win the round. Soon after the PM's addresses, Kumar gave a strongly worded rebuttal at a press conference in Patna.

Have a dekko at the rhetoric rivalry:

Modi announced:

Rs 3,094 crore for farmers' welfare, comprising

a) an upgrade of Rajendra Prasad Agricultural University, Samastipur to a central varsity, including the creation of a new research centre;

b) development of fisheries, farm water management, storage capacity, farm mechanisation and seed production and;

c) construction of warehouses for food grain.

Nitish countered:

We relieved the university for the central government to acquire, but it hasn't done that so far. Perhaps the PM is not aware that work under these packages were to be done by Central agencies. We, in the meantime, have come up with a new university and four other institutions.

Modi announced:

Rs 1,000 crore for a central university near Bhagalpur and an IIM in Bodhgaya.

Nitish countered:

We brought down the dropout rate in schools to 1.5% from 12.5%.

Modi announced:

Rs 1,550 crore for skill development, comprising

a) establishment of a mega skill university and

b) training of 1 lakh youth.

Nitish countered:

The state government's skill development programme targets to train 100 lakh youth.

"We sought a special status for the state as that would reduce taxes, prompting big companies to invest here. Not giving that status means stopping investment, which in turn affects job creation in the state."

Modi announced:

Rs 600 crore for upgrading three medical colleges in Patna, Bhagalpur and Gaya.

Nitish countered:

Average footfall at primary health centres in the state has soared to an 11,000 per month from a mere 39 in 2005.

Modi announced:

Rs 16,130 crore for electricity, comprising

a) a new 1,300 MW power plant in Buxar;

b) electrification of villages under Deen Dayal Upadhyay Gram Vidyut Yojana and

c) electrification of towns and cities under Integrated Power Development Scheme.

Plus Rs 20,000 crore for an ultra-mega power project in Banka with public-private partnership.

Nitish countered:

The Banka project was approved when Sushil Kumar Shinde (of the Congress) was the power minister. We had arranged for everything, including water, land etc. But work never started.

Now Modi has announced it as if it is something new. "How many times will you slaughter the same chicken."

Modi announced:

Rs 13,820 crore for for 22,500 km of rural roads;

Rs 54,713 crore for

a) four-laning and widening of 2,775 km of national highways,

b) construction of bridges across rivers Ganga, Sone and Kosi and

c) construction of 12 rail over bridges

Nitish countered:

The Bihar government has built 66,500 km of road, more than 5,000 bridges. What budgetary provisions had been made for the projects included in the special package? How can we trust it will be implemented?

Modi announced:

Rs 8,870 crore for doubling and tripling of 676 km of railway tracks and the electrification of 574 km.

Nitish countered:

It is the railways ministry's responsibility to build and develop tracks. How is that part of a special package?

Modi announced:

Rs 2,700 crore for the construction of a new airport in Patna and the development of airports at Gaya, Raxaul and Purnea.

Nitish countered:

"We have been hearing about this for long, but no money has been allocated for acquiring 1,500 acre land needed for the new airport."

Modi announced:

Rs 449 crore for Digital Bihar, comprising

a) software technology parks, rural BPOs and Training Centres;

b) 1,000 new mobile towers;

c) 30 WiFi hotspots across prominent tourist places and

d) scaling common service centres to 26,000 from 8,800.

Nitish countered:

"Was the state not part of the Centre's Digital India programme?"

Modi announced:

Rs 600 crore for the development of seven tourism circuits.

Nitish countered:

"Our estimate to promote tourism in the state is around Rs 5,900 crore. The PM has offered only 10% of that."

Modi announced:

Rs 21,476 crore for

a) the expansion of the Barauni Refinery and new petrochemical plant;

b) the construction of gas pipelines, new LPG plants and expansion of domestic LPG connections and

c) the petrol-diesel pipeline from Raxaul to Nepal.

Nitish countered:

The state had taken all political parties on board and submitted a memorandum to the Centre seeking a special assistance of Rs 1,40,571 crore after it was split to create Jharkhand. The projects included a metro railway, three power plants, panchayat bhawans, mega food parks and an integrated steel plant.

The Rs 1.25 lakh crore special package is a combination of all the committed liabilities of the Centre.

Kumar also took Modi on for branding Bihar as BIMARU - Bimar, in Hindi, means sick. "He humiliates the state government and calls it incompetent. What kind of cooperative federalism is this?" the chief minister asked.

First published: 19 August 2015, 3:55 IST
Panini Anand @paninianand

Senior Assistant Editor at Catch, Panini is a poet, singer, cook, painter, commentator, traveller and photographer who has worked as reporter, producer and editor for organizations including BBC, Outlook and Rajya Sabha TV. An IIMC-New Delhi alumni who comes from Rae Bareli of UP, Panini is fond of the Ghats of Varanasi, Hindustani classical music, Awadhi biryani, Bob Marley and Pink Floyd, political talks and heritage walks. He has closely observed the mainstream national political parties, the Hindi belt politics along with many mass movements and campaigns in last two decades. He has experimented with many mass mediums: theatre, street plays and slum-based tabloids, wallpapers to online, TV, radio, photography and print.