Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar on Sunday took a veiled dig at Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) chief Raj Thackeray, saying that migration from his state had reduced and that Biharis were also responsible for the progress of Mumbai.
“Biharis are hardworking people. They are not a burden on the city but they take on the burden,” said Kumar. “10.38 crore Biharis have taken a pledge to make such progress that people do not have to migrate to earn their livelihood, and the results are showing,” he added.
He did not name Thackeray directly but rued that despite migration from across the country, Biharis were being targetted.
Kumar also spoke in Marathi, praising Maharashtra as the land of saints, and also thanking its people for their large-heartedness.
Kumar was speaking at a function at Mumbai organised to celebrate the centenary year of the formation of Bihar.
In the last four years, Raj Thackeray, as a part of his anti-North Indian campaign, has been blaming the migrants from Bihar and Uttar Pradesh for the crumbling infrastructure of the city. Initially, he had also opposed Kumar’s function, but later backed down after the latter convinced him that it was a purely cultural event.
Describing migration as an unique feature of this country, Kumar further asked Maharashtrains to come to Bihar.
“You have the knowledge and talent. Come to Bihar. The state has changed and is on the way to progress,” said Kumar. A Bihari is not anti-Maharashtrian. You celebrate Maharashtra Day in Bihar and I welcome you,” said Kumar.
He also dwelt on the progress made by Bihar in the last seven years. “Initially, people used to make fun of a Bihari, but now the situation has changed. 70,000 criminals are serving their sentences and are now afraid of the law of the land,” he added. Today Patna is no longer dark after sunset, and women are playing a major role at the panchayat level,” he added.