PATNA: Buoyed by efforts to reunite 'Janata Parivar', senior JD (U) leader Nitish Kumar today appealed to the people to halt the 'Ashvamedh Horse' of the BJP when it comes to Bihar during the next assembly elections.
"The Ashvamedh Horse (the horse set free by emperors during ancient India, who then conquered the land wherever it went) of the BJP is rolling on. It has to be stopped here in Bihar. Then only there could be welfare of the people in the state. You (the people) have to counter them," he said.
Kumar was speaking before a capacity crowd that had gathered to attend a function organised by the 'mahadalit' cell of JD (U) to observe the 58th death anniversary of 'Babasaheb Bhim Rao Ambedkar' at Miller High School ground here.
Chief Minister Jitan Ram Manjhi, Food and Civil Supplies Minister Shyam Rajak, Rajya Sabha member Ali Anwar and several MLAs were also present on the occasion.
"The way to stop the Ashvamedha horse is to remain united and exercise your precious vote in the assembly elections next year. The BJP will conspire to divide you, but you have to beware of these 'kanpunkwas' (rumour mongers)," said Kumar.
"Humlog jaan ki baazi lagayenge aur samaj mein sampradayik sadbhav kayam rakhenge (We will risk our lives to protect communal harmony in the society). We want to take everybody together towards progress," Kumar added.
Kumar, who would be the face of JD(U) in the crucial Assembly poll in the state next year, was speaking two days after a luncheon meeting of six parties at the residence of Samajwadi Party President Mulayam Singh Yadav at Delhi in which the SP chief was authorised to look for formalities to reunite old Janata Parivar.
The luncheon meeting at SP President house was attended by Sharad Yadav and Nitish Kumar JD(U), H D Deve Gowda (JD-S), Lalu Prasad (RJD), Kamal Morarka of Samajwadi Janata Party and representative of INLD of Om Prakash Chautala.
Bihar Assembly poll would face first test against a resurgent BJP in Bihar poll in later half of 2015.
The former chief minister drew attention of people that the BJP had promised several things like removing unemployment and bringing back black-money during the Lok Sabha elections and captured power at the Centre, but then "forgot whatever it had said".
Kumar's speech was interrupted by a slogan shouting and placard-waving crowd of hundreds of 'tola sevaks' and 'talimi markaz'.
These are the people who work at village panchayat levels to help state government in its scheme of putting every child in school. They were demanding raising their retirement age to 60 years and salary to Rs 10,000.
A peeved Kumar first tried to ignore them, then coaxed them to see reason and finally lost his temper. He asked them to sit down and listen quietly to what he was saying, but to no avail. The section of crowd kept shouting slogans and was not willing to stop.
Finally, Kumar inquired about their demands and announced that the Tola Sevaks and Talimi Markaz will work till 60. He also asked Manjhi to ensure this.
Kumar also requested Manjhi to take action against the officials who were creating problems for Tola Sevaks and ensure that the places which are still going without them are quickly filled.
Manjhi on his part said the remaining Tola Sevaks will be trained and absorbed and their salary will be hiked to Rs 10,000 if they come to the Mahadalit rally being planned by JD(U) at Gandhi Maidan in February 2015.
During his speech, the Bihar CM took potshots at the cleanliness campaign launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and terming it as just a drama. "This is a drama. Instead of sweeping railway platforms, Modi should launch the campaign in dalit settlements. I ask him to first clean his mind of various divisive thoughts and then indulge in such things," Manjhi said.
Manjhi showered praise over Kumar for the way he has "honoured" Mahadalits (the downtrodden among the SC).
"Nitish Kumar is the only great person who has honoured Mahadalits. The day he made me the Chief Minister, he showed a glimpse of his greatness, but the people did not understand. I can only say that this is just a glimpse, the rest is yet to come," Manjhi said.
Talking about himself and Kumar, the Chief Minister added "one who reaches high position is considered big, but the one who makes a person big is considered the biggest. Nitish Kumar's stature is the tallest in India and I want to thank him for what he has done for me. We can never forget his farsightedness."
Manjhi rubbished any differences between him and Kumar and termed report in this regard as a creation of media.
He announced a foundation in the name of Bhimrao Ambedkar will be established in Bihar at a cost of Rs 200 crore. The proposal will be passed in the next meeting of the state cabinet and will provide various facilities and training to the people belonging to the Scheduled Castes.
Manjhi added that the International Convention Centre being constructed in Patna will be named after Ambedkar, and a labour recruitment and studies institute in the name of Dashrath Manjhi will also be established here.