From a tough boss who took his publicity-seeking ministers to task only a couple of days ago, Chief Minister Nitish Kumar on Friday metamorphosed into a mild-mannered epitome of magnanimity and conciliation.
Addressing the media on the first anniversary of his regime, Nitish credited "the achievements and creation of the groundwork for building a new Bihar" to team effort. Rejecting the tag of Chief Executive Officer (CEO), he said all his ministers were doing fine.
"I don't want to play a role of a monitor. Let me be just a team leader," he proffered.
The chief minister said there was no need for appraising the performance of his ministers, on an individual basis. He also confessed to being constantly on trial. "It is like appearing for an examination everyday. One year on, I let the public be the judge of how we have done," he added.
The chief minister was there to present his regime's first annual report card. This was a 38-page booklet in Hindi, enumerating the government's achievements and its 18-page English version christened "Development with Justice, One Year Journey". He also spoke of the challenges ahead.
Asked which was the most difficult department to handle, the CM said finding a functional department was the challenge as his regime had inherited a weak structure. He, however, sounded satisfied with the progress on the law and order front. "The rule of law has been established and social amity is being maintained," he said.
He said so far 61 proposals worth Rs 25,000 crore had been cleared by the SIPB and the government was able to introduce systematic governance. "However, the next year is going to be more challenging. We need to consolidate on our achievements and give shape to our plans," he said.
The report card contains quotes of important personalities, details about new legislations and amendments, newly-constituted commissions, new policies, new appointments and tax and tariff concessions. It also lists achievements in the field of law and order, education, health, minority welfare, administrative reforms, redressal of public grievances, initiatives for empowering people, rural development programmes, agriculture, irrigation, industrial and sugarcane development, roads, fiscal discipline and power reforms.
The CM announced the constitution of Bihar Investment and Development Council, headed by him, with top-notch personalities drawn from different sectors, including industry and media as its members. A Bihar Foundation, under the chairmanship of deputy chief minister, is also to be constituted to look into the problems of and revive links with Biharis settled in different parts of the world.
Earlier in the day, he was felicitated at the party office. Speaking on the occasion, he urged his party men to extend their support to the agenda for good governance and development. "Point out our mistakes and discuss them on party fora," he said. "This is like any other day for me. I sleep dissatisfied each night thinking many jobs have been left uncompleted," he surmised.