Punch, counterpunch: Sonia calls Nitish 'opportunistic' | india | Hindustan Times
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Punch, counterpunch: Sonia calls Nitish 'opportunistic'

india Updated: Oct 18, 2010 16:43 IST

The argument between Congress leaders and Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar is just not going to end. Congress president Sonia Gandhi on Monday called Kumar an "opportunistic" politician.

Congress President Sonia Gandhi charged that the state government had been sitting over the center’s proposal for replicating the Aligarh Muslim University (AMU) model at Kishanganj.

“Approval and clearances for building the university have been sent, but the state government has failed to provide land to build the university”, Gandhi said at a rally in Kishanganj on Monday.

“The Centre has sent crores upon crores for minority welfare. But the state government has not had the time to utilize the funds”, Gandhi charged.

Questioning the chief minister’s development plank, Gandhi said that huge funds had been provided by the center for the development of Bihar. “But how has the money been spent? Where have the funds gone?” “There are reports from time to time about money being siphoned off”.

At her first election rally in poll-bound Bihar, Gandhi sought to reach out to the minority voters, even as she questioned the secular credentials of the Bihar chief minister – without once naming any of the political opponents.

“The story of the coalition politics of Bihar in the last 20 years is a peculiar one. Leaders claiming to be secular are hand in glove with those that symbolize rabid communal politics”, she said.

Referring to the Gujarat carnage of 2002, the Congress President said that “this Bihar leader” remained in the NDA even after the worst atrocities were heaped on the minority community in Gujarat.

Hitting out at Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) leader Lalu Prasad, the Congress President said “this leader was showing dreams to the minority community”. "But what did he do when he ruled the state”, she asked.

“Bihar residents were having to migrate to other states for jobs, for education or for medical treatment. “This is because the non-Congress parties have had no vision and commitment to bring about real change”, Gandhi said.

In the backdrop of the Ayodhya verdict, leaders of all political parties have been attempting to win over the hearts and minds of Muslim voters in Bihar’s bordering districts of Araria, Kishanganj, Katihar and Supoul.

Congress general secretary Rahul Gandhi addressed three rallies in the region last week, followed by a meeting addressed by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.

While chief minister Nitish Kumar camped for an entire week in the region, RJD leader Lalu Prasad has addressed several meetings over past few days.