PATNA: Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday spared Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar and targeted the Congress while inaugurating railway projects at Hajipur.
The two leaders, who were engaged in a bitter exchange of barbs during the Bihar Assembly polls only a few months ago, seemed to have buried the hatchet, with the Prime Minister going as far as to gesture to a section of the crowd to stop chanting his name while Nitish was giving a speech.
Speaking at the inauguration of the newly constructed Digha-Sonepur rail-cum-road bridge in the presence of Modi, Nitish noted with apparent happiness that the Central government had taken the issue of the dilapidated condition of the Gandhi bridge over the Ganga seriously and asked the Prime Minister to visit Bihar frequently. On the dais both the Prime Minister and the Chief Minister were seen smiling and chatting with each other.
While inaugurating the Digha-Sonepur rail-cum-road bridge and the bridge in Munger, which was proposed way back in 2002 when Atal Bihari Vajpayee was Prime Minister, Modi reminised about past links that the National Democratic Alliance had shared with Nitish and said, “This project was initiated when Nitish was Railway Minister and Atal ji was the Prime Minister. The dream of that time is being realised now.”
Hitting out at the Congress, Modi said, “Had this not been neglected for the last 10 years and work been taken up for it even under the routine budget, then it would have been completed in six-seven years.”
“I am grateful to Nitish ji. Work is progressing with speed in Bihar due to his efforts. If the Central government and the Bihar government work decisively, we can finish the work fast and make Bihar proud,” Modi added.
In an apparent attack on the Congress, Modi said that electricity had not reached 18,000 villages of the country even after 70 years of Independence. “I told my officers that I have to do this work within 1,000 days, which was not done in last 70 years. One thousand days are yet to complete but electricity has already reached in 6,000 villages. Bihar and Uttar Pradesh are going to benefit the maximum from it,” he said.
“Since the ‘nerve centre’ of India’s development lies in eastern India, the country cannot develop quickly without the development of its eastern part,” the Prime Minister said.
“Bihar is a priority for us because we feel Bihar’s progress is key to India’s progress. This government has spent more for the projects in Bihar in last two and half years than what was spent in five years earlier. This was done because it is my conviction that if India has to progress fast, Bihar’s development has to be accelerated,” he said.