Battleground Bihar: How Modi and Nitish are squaring up

  • HT Correspondent, Hindustan Times, New Delhi
  • Updated: Sep 17, 2015 17:45 IST
Narendra Modi addressing a BJP rally in Bhagalpur for the Bihar elections. (HT Photo/Ravindra)

As the battle for Bihar intensifies and verbal volleys get shriller, Prime Minister Narendra Modi and chief minister Nitish Kumar engaged in yet another spat after a BJP rally in Bhagalpur on Tuesday. While Modi was very critical of Kumar at the rally, the chief minister tried to pick holes in the PM’s arguments. Here’s what the two leaders had to say:


Where will he get his money?

I wonder how a state with an annual plan of Rs 50000 to Rs 55000 crore can find resources to fund Nitish Kumar’s Rs 2.72 lakh crore Bihar package, if not by siphoning off nearly Rs 3.75 crore promised by the Finance Commission. What happens to the rest unspent, I wonder?


At least, they now believe that it is possible and it helps in the development debate. We can take care that we do not have to ask you for that money. What is the Centre’s problem? As for the rest of the Finance Commission funds, Bihar has other projects like agricultural roadmap to show the spending.


They can’t even use funds!

While PHC’s (public health centres) in all BJP-ruled states have gone up and there are now 5,300 such in the country, would you believe it that in Bihar, there were 101 PHCs in 2005, which has now gone down to just 70 today. They can’t even use funds.


Where do they get their data?

I do not know where they manufacture data. They could have just gone to the website which will show them that Bihar today has 36 district hospitals, up from 24, PHCs have gone up from 398 to 533 and 130 PHCs have been upgraded to CHC (community health centre) status.


Can they answer to people?

I challenge those who have ruled 25 years to come up with a report card on what they have done, instead of asking questions on Bihar’s development from a PM. I will have a report card in 2019.


We have an annual report card

I do not understand what he is saying, since our government has been issuing a report card every year in November, the gist of which is there, uploaded (in our website). Those who can’t see it just have to say it, and I will send a copy to them.


They can’t even create jobs

We kept on asking the state to list the 21 backward districts for industry and IT incentives. They slept over it from March and sent it only towards the last week of August. They do not like Bihar people to be employed or else they would have responded (faster).


Why not offer tax holiday?

The 21 districts are the same which have long been identified and declared backward. Where was the confusion? We are already providing depreciation allowance for plant and machinery upto 20%. If the Centre wants to develop Bihar, why not declare a tax holiday?


UPA forced to debate development

We have forced the development debate by offering Rs 1.25 lakh crore to the state for development and they have been forced to promise more. It is the NDA which brought poll discourse on track over development.


We forced it to come clean

They talk about cooperative federalism and then pose as if it is their own money to give. Why should the Centre claim to offer funds to develop a mega power plant, when it is entirely upon private investors to deliver?

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