Pledging to work for the development of Bihar with redoubled vigour if re-elected to office, chief minister Nitish Kumar on Friday accused the BJP-led NDA of fearmongering with a view to sidestep real electoral issues.
“People are watching the attempts to shift the dialogue on development to unseen fear of Jungle Raj by spreading falsehood about our association with the RJD," Kumar said at the ‘IBN Dialogues –Bihar 2.0” conclave held in Patna in partnership with the Hindustan Times.
Justifying the electoral tie-up of his Janata Dal (United) with Lalu Prasad’s RJD, the chief minister said both parties belonged to the Janata Parivar and the alliance was a tactical one.
“I have been associated with the RJD and the Congress in the past three years since we split from the NDA. Can anyone cite an example of Jungle Raj or this government junking its development mission?” he asked.
“The theme of Jungle Raj is raised only because the NDA finds itself on a stickier wicket on issues of real development due to their failure to perform in the past 15 months at the Centre,” Kumar said.
Defending his government’s record on law and order, he cited National Crime Records Bureau data to assert that Bihar's crime rate was lower than the national average.
“Crime rate in Bihar is 174 per lakh against the national average of 229. Bihar stands at 22nd position among all states, with Chhattisgarh, Rajasthan, Maharashtra and MP registering more and remaining higher on the list”.
He said: “Women roam freely, even late at night in Patna today. I assure you, this will never change and your safety will never be compromised.”
To a question whether the Bihar election would be a referendum on him and Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s 15 months at the Centre, Kumar said the NDA government had made it a prestige issue to win the polls.
“Usually, assembly elections are fought on issues concerning the state. But the NDA government and their leaders have linked this poll to their personal prestige and working overtime to achieve it,” he said.
Promising to work on his development plan for the state from Day One if re-elected, Kumar said the power situation in Bihar had improved from 700MW output to 3,100MW and per capita electricity availability from 70 units to 203 units.
“The state will take power to every home as a policy by the end of 2016,” he said.