RJD chief Lalu Prasad and Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar shared the dais Sunday to inaugurate the construction work of the ambitious six-lane Ganga bridge, which will link Kachchi Dargah in the state capital to Vaishali’s Bidupur.
Interestingly, the Rs 5,000-crore project was inaugurated by the CM before the Assembly polls. On Sunday, however, the state government marked actual start of the project in a public event that clearly underlined the RJD chief’s position as the senior alliance partner. Lalu justified the “re-inauguration” of the six-lane bridge saying there was a “difference between foundation laying ceremony and marking the original beginning of a project”.
The project, likely to be completed in four years, will be Asia’s longest bridge (9.76 km). The entire length of the bridge, including approach roads from either side, is expected to be 22.7 km. The state has taken a Rs 3,000-crore loan from the ADB for the project. The bridge will pass through Raghopur, the assembly constituency of Deputy Chief Minister Tejashwi Yadav.
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Meanwhile, the BJP trained its guns on Lalu and questioned the capacity in which he attended the function.“We simply want to know in what capacity Lalu Prasad was called at a government function. Nitish Kumar had to do fresh inauguration to please Lalu. If he was called as a former CM, other former CMs should have also been called,” said BJP leader Sushil Kumar Modi. The party also attacked Lalu for attending a Patna function on behalf of his health minister son Tej Pratap Yadav, Saturday.
Nitish, however, said there was nothing wrong in Lalu taking interest in government schemes and giving his feedback through surprise inspections. The CM also praised his deputy and Lalu’s son, Tejashwi — who is also the state’s road construction minister.
“Tejashwi apne naam ke mutabik kaam kar rahein hai… Lalu Prasad is the leader of RJD, our alliance partner… I see nothing wrong in him giving feedback on governance,” said the CM. He also targeted BJP, adding that “they are a frustrated lot and have no business other than beating their chests”.
Speaking at the event, Lalu thanked OBCs, EBCs and Dalits for an election result that, he claimed, had changed the political course of the country.
“Tejashwi and I will visit the area again to take stock of the bridge construction. BJP has been rendered jobless after the crushing defeat. They are behaving like khatmal (bed bug) that keeps biting. The bridge project has not got any support from Centre,” he said. Earlier, Lalu also tried to answer the charge of “interference in government” by questioning the capacity in which the RSS gave suggestions to the Centre.