NEW DELHI/PATNA: Seen as the underlying cause of the acrimony between the NDA Government and the Opposition in the recent months, the Bihar poll battle was kicked off on Tuesday with a bang by Prime Minister Narendra Modi when he promised a Rs 1.65 lakh crore-package to the state if the BJP were voted to power.
Chief Minister Nitish Kumar countered Modi blitz with a flurry of tweets. “What are the terms & conditions? We don’t know when will the money come anyway!” he asked. Playing up Bihar pride, he tweeted: “Special package is our right and not a favour.”
Modi unleashed a blistering attack on Nitish, calling him “arrogant” at one rally and a “beggar” at the other. “Drunk with arrogance and his head in the seventh sky, he (Nitish) returned the Rs 5 crore donated by the people of Gujarat for the families of Kosi flood victims. He’s angry that I called Bihar BIMARU, but he comes begging for funds to Delhi every other day,” he said.
Demolishing all aspects of Nitish’s governance record and politics, including the JD(U)-RJD-Congress alliance Modi hit out at him for “betraying” the BJP and joining hands with the “murderers of JP” (Congress during the Emergency) for bringing back the “jungle raj” of the Lalu-era.
Congress leader Rahul Gandhi, who was in his Amethi constituency in Uttar Pradesh, also countered the Bihar bonanza.
“The PM is in the habit of doling out such promises for votes. I fear it would go the One Rank One Pension way,” he said, drawing a parallel between the BJP’s Lok Sabha poll promise of implementing the pension scheme for armed forces personnel.
Nitish returned some of the fire Modi had levelled at him. “The PM talks of cooperative federalism but does just the opposite by insulting the states.I am sometimes very surprised and wonder as to where he get his facts from.”.
Nitish also accused him of including many projects originally announced by the erstwhile UPA in his government’s special package for the state.
“Some of the projects were already pending with the Centre. So there is nothing new in the package. They are not doing any favour to Bihar (by announcing the package),” Nitish said.
The Chief Minister also criticised the way Modi had announced the special package. “It appeared as if an auction were being held and bids invited,” he said.
Tax Rebate for 21 Bihar Districts
The Centre has notified 21 districts of Bihar as “backward” areas for conferring an income tax rebate of 15 percent on setting up new manufacturing plants and buildings. The Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT), the apex policy-making body of the Income Tax Department, issued a notification in this regard putting these select districts under Section 32 and 32 AD of the Income Tax Act. From this year, the districts will stand to benefit as entrepreneurs will pay 15 percent less on income tax on investments in buildings, new plants and machinery in notified “backward” area.
It’s same old story, claims yechury
The Left parties on Tuesday questioned the Rs 1.25 lakh crore package announced by Prime Minister Narendra Modi for poll-bound Bihar, and sought to know if it offered anything extra to the region. CPM general secretary Sitaram Yechury and his CPI counterpart S Sudhakar Reddy told reporters that the Left parties were going to contest the Bihar Assembly elections as an independent block. Taking a jibe at Modi over the announcement of the new package, Yechury said similar announcements made earlier have only been rehashing of existing schemes and funds.