Sharing a dais with the Bihar Chief Minister for the first time after the state assembly elections in which the BJP was routed by the JD(U)-RJD combine, Prime Minister Narendra Modi publicly praised “mitra” (friend) Nitish Kumar and targeted the Congress for neglecting the state during its rule.
Declaring open the Digha-Sonepur rail-cum-road bridge at Hajipur — he also dedicated to the nation the Munger rail-cum-road bridge and laid the foundation stone of a parallel bridge across the Ganga at Mokama — Modi said: “This project was initiated when Nitish Kumar was Railway Minister and Atalji was Prime Minister. The dream of that time is being realised now.”
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Without naming the Congress, he said: “Had this not been neglected in the last ten years, had work been taken up under the routine budget, it would have been completed in six-seven years.”
He said the country’s progress was not possible without Bihar’s development. Bihar, he said, will get the largest FDI with two locomotive projects.
“If we have to change the future of India, we have to first change the fortunes of Bihar. I have full conviction that the Centre and state will march shoulder to shoulder.”
Praising Nitish Kumar for the electrification works in Bihar, the Prime Minister said that 18,000 villages, most of them in UP and Bihar, would get electricity in 1,000 days. “I am happy that 6,000 villages have already been electrified. We will ensure Bihar becomes the first among such states to be fully electrified.”
As they shared the dais, the crowd chanted “Modi, Modi” even when Nitish Kumar spoke. At one point, the Prime Minister rose from his seat and stood near Nitish to hush the crowd.
The Chief Minister, on his part, welcomed the Centre’s efforts for the development of Bihar. He said the opening of the Digha and Munger bridges had given him “personal satisfaction” since the projects were started when he was Railway Minister.
“It is a matter of happiness for the people of Bihar and a matter of personal satisfaction to see the Digha and Munger bridges. The then Prime Minister, Atalji, had given me charge of railways when the projects got underway. I am also happy that a new rail bridge will come up at Mokama, the area I represented in Parliament (Barh) five times.”
“I request the Prime Minister to keep visiting Bihar, offering development projects. Bihar’s growth is synonymous with that of the country. I am sure the Prime Minister will take us along in the development vehicle. I draw his attention to the bad condition of the Mahatma Gandhi bridge and hope its renovation proposal is approved,” he said.
The function was attended by Union Ministers and BJP leaders from Bihar and Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu. After the function, the Prime Minister was seen patting Deputy Chief Minister Tejashwi Prasad Yadav.