At Bihar rally, crowd revels in Modi rhetoric, special package
Modi, who returned from Dubai in the morning, struck a chord by greeting them in Bhojpuri. He announced a massive Rs. 1.25 lakh crore development package for the poll-bound state.india Updated: Aug 19, 2015 00:20 IST
If the response to Prime Minister Narendra Modi's rally in Arrah on Tuesday was anything to go by, the JD(U)-Congress-RJD camp has some wooing to do ahead of the Bihar assembly elections slated for October-November.
Notwithstanding the light drizzles, a group of youth flocked the venue with enthusiasm. And each of the PM's announcements was followed by a loud 'Modi-Modi' chant by the ecstatic crowd.
For his part, Modi, who returned from Dubai in the morning, struck a chord by greeting them in Bhojpuri. He announced a massive Rs. 1.25 lakh crore development package for the poll-bound state.
"This package proves I am a man who delivers what he promises. We will make a sea change in Bihar. We have taken up the task to upgrade skills of crores of youth to create employment and stop migration. Skill development will change the face of this country like never before," he said amid loud chants.
Youth started jumping over barricades and entered reserved areas for VIPs and guests to have a closer view. They kept waving and responding to every question and even pauses by the PM.
And, Modi reiterated his slogan -- "Start Up India, Stand Up India" -- to kick-start industrial employment creation, necessary for the state to shed its notorious BIMARU status - a cluster of Bihar, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh, with poor socio-economic indicators.
In the heat of the election season, some from the audience loved his barbs at Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar, who had in the recent past repeatedly prodded the PM about the special package promised ahead of the 2014 Lok Sabha elections.
Modi attacked Kumar for his "arrogance" in returning money meant for victims of the 2008 Kosi floods. He also challenged Kumar's claim that Bihar was no longer a BIMARU' state.
"I am happy that the PM has taken on the CM for criticising him and asking him about the package," said Shatrughan Kumar Rai, a local resident, adding: "I am eager to hear what Nitish Kumar has to say now after the huge package Modi bestowed on Bihar."
And the likes of Rai did not have to wait for long. Kumar responded, saying: "He (Narendra Modi) is prime minister and free to speak anything. He talks of cooperative federalism but behaves just opposite to it. He insults the states."
At Arrah, Modi's claim that people of the state had "sharp intellect" just like Chanakya and could decide for themselves why the CM was offended at BIMARU reference went down well.
But, farmer Heera Singh seemed to have been bowled over by the promise of a "comprehensive plan" to improve the condition of farmers in the country. "I see a new hope under the PM, who is now focused on the welfare of farmers along with agriculture development," he said.
Alongside farmers, who have been complaining over non-procurement of paddy and lack of water in Bihar's irrigation systems, other sections in the crowd were enthusiastic as well.
"I am impressed by the opportunity being planned for start-up funding. Nobody backed an idea or a first generation entrepreneur till now. We have hopes that bankers will not turn us away," said young Sohail Hassan, who wishes to employ a team of seven workers in his start-up in Kayamnagar on the outskirts of Arrah town.
Anbother highlight of the day was the way Modi introduced new Bihar governor Ram Kumar Kovind to the crowd.
"He is a man of intellect, a man who has been tirelessly working for the poor and the downtrodden and is intent to uplift the most weakest sections of our society," Modi said, trying to impress people of an area where Maoist groups have had held sway for long.
Modi's references to Kuer Singh and the land of Jaya Prakash Narayan, in the Bhojpuri dialect, had the audience on its feet several times, creating a mood and fervour of a poll campaign at its crescendo.