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Veiled attack against PM: Casteism is everywhere, but Bihar is singled out, says Nitish Kumar

The “Breakfast with the CM”, held at the state guesthouse from 9am, had a one-of-its-kind format.

Written by Santosh Singh | Patna | Updated: August 17, 2015 5:21 am
casteism, bihar polls, bihar assembly polls, Patidars, Nitish Kumar, Bihar@2025 campaign, BHEL, india news, news Chief Minister Nitish Kumar greets Ram Nath Kovind after he was sworn in as the 36th Governor of Bihar, in Patna on Sunday. Kovind is two-time Rajya Sabha MP and former head of BJP’s SC/ST unit. (Source: Express photo by Prashant Ravi)

“Can one name a place in the subcontinent where there is no casteism? People from outside come here and denigrate us because we are tolerant.  They should first tackle it in their own state (Gujarat) where Patidars are fighting for reservation.”

This is what Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar said towards the end of a two-hour-fifteen-minute session of “Breakfast with the CM”, a unique interaction with reporters organised by the state Information and Public Relations department to conclude the “Bihar@2025” campaign.

The campaign has run into controversy for alleged misuse of government funds for Nitish’s poll publicity.

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Though Nitish tried to evade political questions and focused on issues like land disputes, open defecation and tourism infrastructure, he could not restrain himself from launching a veiled attack on Prime Minister Narendra Modi. “There has been a conscious attempt to discredit me and not allow my government’s good work come to the fore. If the Centre helps, Bihar will scale heights of development. If not, it will still make progress,” he said.

Replying to a question on the “Bihari” sentiment that Nitish played up following Modi’s DNA barb at a rally in the state, Nitish said: “People come here and denigrate us because we are tolerant. It is a ‘chup-raho-ki-tum-Bihari-ho’ thing”.

The CM then switched over to the issue of casteism. “People unnecessarily defame Bihar with the caste tag. We should ask where does casteism not exist. All political formulations are based on caste. It is an evil but a common factor”.

Nitish said there had been “unnecessary hue and cry” over the Badh Chala Bihar campaign.

When asked why it was launched in the the poll year, the CM replied it was the right time to seek feedback. “After all, my yatras were also aimed at getting public feedback,” he said.

Speaking on the issue of electricity, a subject Modi repeatedly uses to attack the Nitish government, the CM said: “We are in plains and cannot talk much on hydel projects. We now have a power supply of 3100 MW. The Centre has been delaying some projects. BHEL has changed its completion date for a power project 14 times. We are committed to electrify all Bihar villages by November 2016. But it is up to the people to apply for electricity lines”.

Nitish agreed that places like Rajgir and Gaya need better insfrastructure for tourists, but added: “Some high-end tourists do not contribute to our economy, but rather put load on our system.”

The “Breakfast with the CM”, held at the state guesthouse from 9am, had a one-of-its-kind format. Only chosen journalists were allowed entry. They were also asked to fill a questionairre on education, infrastructure, tourism and health sectors. Journalists were not allowed to carry video or still cameras, but government cameras kept vigil.

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  1. Haradhan Mandal
    Aug 17, 2015 at 11:37 am
    Nobody ever found a SINGLE fault on Shri Nitish ji so long he was with NDA. In fact, i remember reading few articles (much before the General election and Modi did not YET figure as the probable PM candidate (even in informal talk) and Nitish ji was still with NDA and WAS a probable PM candidate, he was being 'floated'/test ballooned' by some TV channels like NDTV). Those articles were on THE 'MIRACULOUS' GDP growth in Bihar. 'Bihar had a runaway GDP growth of 12%' - Bihar was spectacularly running on all engines full throttle on DEVELOPMENT and Nitish ji was the CM then. AND - yes, Nitish ji is still the CM of the same BIHAR. Can someone please pull out those articles and video/audio clips? Generational 'Bharastachar/dishonesty' is in the genes.
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      Arun
      Aug 17, 2015 at 5:50 am
      Nitish, admit the truth. Casteism in Bihar is more alive than any other state, save perhaps Uttar Pradesh. Rather than admit it and do something to make it go away, you are defending casteism in Bihar, saying it is equally bad elsewhere. If you look at Modi vs Nitish, this is the essential difference: Modi is about change, Nitish is about the appearance of change. When you stop confusing between the two, Nitish, you will prosper. I don't expect that to happen soon. Its how you are wired.
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        Dushyant Parikh
        Aug 17, 2015 at 7:32 am
        Yes, there is rampant casteism in Gujarat. In one company, Brahmin M.D. was appointing brahmins, In a company(Semi-Govt in Gujarat) a Jain chief Executive was appointing Jains. in another Gujarat State govt company, Patels were given preference to any other meritorious candidates. Now a day If you are backing BJP and company is leaning towards BJP, You will get jobs easily and when Congress comes in power, those companies appoint sons and daughters of congressman. This is in all states of India, to some extent, Gujarat and Bihar are not different. Do you remember sons of soil theory in Maharashtra state earlier days? Dushyant Parikh.
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          KSRao
          Aug 17, 2015 at 7:44 am
          Anything that is wrong with our society is found in abundance in Bihar, and that is why people have started the acronym BIMARU with Bihar. Its people are hard working and skilled too, but there is something extraordinarily wrong there, and that's why Bihar gets its bad name. Remember Bhagalpur blindings, vehicles driven off from showrooms during Lalu's daughter Misa BHarathi's marriage, and innumerable caste incidents. If something can go wrong goes wrong there, only thing is Nitish is different from all the politicians.
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            Meenal Mamdani
            Aug 17, 2015 at 9:53 am
            What Nitish says is the sad truth about India. Therefore for any politician to accuse another of playing to the caste vote bank is hypocritical. They are all birds of the same feather. It is better for politicians to speechify on how they differ from their rival, on good governance, on maintenance of law and order, on promoting communal harmony and preventing riots, on improving health care and literacy, etc.
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