Former Bihar Chief Minister Jitan Ram Manjhi on sunday said that the Nitish Kumar government should have accorded more priority on removing poverty than indulging in showpiece development projects.
"Nitish Kumar believes more in pomp and show instead of development. He indulges in many things that are not needed with an intention of becoming an international personality," Manjhi, the one time protege of Kumar, told reporters here.
"Some constructions like the International Museum, Convention Centre, new building for Legislative Assembly, new residences for legislators were not necessary at all as we are fighting against poverty in the state. There was no need for these buildings," Manjhi said.
The former chief Minister said the old Patna Musuem could have been easily expanded to cater to the present day visitors, but Kumar instead opted for an International Museum.
"Spending Rs. 500 or 700 crore on museum or other buildings should have been thought about only after paying attention to the problems faced by our people like teachers, contractual workers, policemen and home guards," he added.
Manjhi resigned from the Chief Minister's post on February 20 after holding it for nine months that were fraught with bickering within the JD (U). Kumar replaced him by embarking on his fourth term as the CM.
About decisions taken by him but subsequently annulled by Kumar, Manjhi claimed these were pro-people and would have had long-term impact on the betterment of Bihar.
"I noticed that 10 pre cent of the cost of projects was going to contractors as benefits. This amounted to Rs. 4,000 crore per annum. I thought if this money goes to people from the deprived sections of the society," he said.
Manjhi also pointed out that 13-month salary every year was decided for the policemen since they had been agitating for it for a long time. The provision was in place in several other states, given their long duty hours and lack of holidays.
Reacting to RJD chief Lalu Prasad's support to Kumar, Manjhi said "it could be a topic of research." He, however, said Lalu Prasad was several notches better than Kumar.