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Nitish secular claims come under attack

india Updated: Jun 11, 2012 16:27 IST
Ashok Mishra & Srinand Jha

Congress president Sonia Gandhi addressed her first poll rallies in Bihar on Monday, hitting out at Chief Minister Nitish Kumar.

Gandhi focused on the two main issues that the Bihar elections are being fought on this time — development and communal politics.

Accusing the chief minister of indulging in "opportunistic politics", Gandhi charged that the state government had been sitting over the Centre’s proposal on the AMU branch.

"Approval and clearances for building the university have been sent, but the state government has failed to provide land," Gandhi said at Muslim-dominated Kishanganj district.

On Kumar’s secular credentials, she said, "There are some leaders who talk big about secularism. But when it comes to practising it, they fall in the lap of communal forces."

Without naming Kumar, she said, "This Bihar leader remained in the BJP-led NDA even after the worst atrocities were heaped on the minority community in Gujarat in 2002."

The Congress is the only party, which has never discriminated against anybody on the basis of caste and community, Gandhi claimed. "We lost elections, but never compromised on our secular beliefs."

Gandhi criticised both Kumar and RJD leader Lalu Prasad for 20 years of alleged non-performance and exhorted people to exercise their franchise in support of Congress candidates to bring about a revolution of development in the state.

Accusing Kumar for failing to utilise central funds for development, Gandhi said at Motihari — she described it as the karmabhoomi (workplace) of Mahatma Gandhi — that these politicians make "big claims on development, but the result is there for all to see."

The state’s youth had to migrate in search of employment and people had to visit other states for medical treatment, as the state’s hospitals were in a bad shape, she said.

"And No one knows the condition of roads better than you." Gandhi said amid applause by an impressive gathering at the Zila School ground at Motihari.