Prashant Kishor. Image Courtesy: India TV
Patna: Former Janata Dal-United leader and poll strategist Prashant Kishor on Tuesday, February 18, questioned the much-hyped development claim of Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar and targeted him for projecting himself as a follower of Gandhi but standing with those shouting for long life to Nathuram Godse, who killed Mahatma Gandhi.
Over one and a half months after being expelled from JD-U for opposing CAA-NRC-NPR, Kishor for the first time hit Nitish’s development model by saying that Bihar has not developed as it should have in the last 15 years. “Bihar was the poorest state in 2005 and has remained the same. At the level of development, it stands more or less the same as it did in 2005. Though some development has taken place that is not enough, ” he said, while addressing a press conference.
He added, “It is a matter of concern as there is no one to question Nitish Kumar's governance model.”
Kishor also announced his plan to launch a campaign 'Baat Bihar Ki' from February 20 to reach out to people "who believe in the need for a new leadership for Bihar". The aim of the campaign is to mobilise 10 lakh youth over the next 100 days. However, he denied any plan to join any other political party or launching any political outfit, and said that that he is not the agent of any such outfit.
Further, acknowledging certain projects, he said that the Nitish Kumar-led government did work in the education sector, distributed bicycles and uniforms free of cost to students but failed to provide good and quality education. More children were enrolled in government run schools but there is no improvement in the quality of education, he said, adding, “Bihar continues to be at the bottom of education index except neighbouring Jharkhand.”
“Similarly, electricity was connected to all households thanks to the efforts of Nitish in last one decade but this is also a hard reality that electricity consumption per household is one of the lowest in the country. There is per household electricity consumption of 900 kilowatt at the national level but in Bihar it is 202 kilowatt only. People in Bihar have no money to use other than fan and bulb,” he said.
Raising questions on the special category status for Bihar, which has been a long pending demand of the state, he asked, “Why Bihar was not accorded special category status despite Nitish Kumar joined hands with the BJP government at the Centre? Why Patna University was not given central university status despite Nitish Kumar requested the PM with folded hands?”
He also pointed out that the newly constructed roads were not motorable.
Saying that Bihar should be compared to other states in terms of the development index, Kishore told media, “Some significant progress was made during Nitish’s rule from Lalu ji's time. But the reality is that if you are comparing Lalu ji's time to your (Nitish Kumar’s) time, you must also let the people know how Bihar stands when compared to states like Gujarat, Maharashtra, Haryana, Karnataka and Tamil Nadu."
Kishor has made it clear that Nitish has made compromises with his earlier ideological position to remain in power with the BJP. He recalled that there had been many discussions between him and Nitish about the party's ideology. “Nitish always told us that the party can never leave the ideals of Gandhi. But now the party is with those who are soft on Gandhi's killer Nathuram Godse,” he said.