From Bihari pride to prohibition, full statehood to law and order, Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar made an emotional pitch ahead of the municipal polls in the national capital on Saturday. “Delhi cannot function without Biharis,” Kumar said at a public meeting in Burari area of outer Delhi.
With his party contesting 113 of 272 seats in the Delhi municipal polls to be held on April 23, the JD(U) chief, in his first municipal election meeting in the capital, spoke about the changing perception about the state, even among Biharis residing in the capital.
“In my own experience, 20 years ago, people from Bihar and Purvanchal who had come here were not so outspoken. But slowly their pride rose. The way we served people in Bihar and got Bihar on the path of development, there was talk about Bihar everywhere. Those Biharis who used to earlier hide their identities, they started introducing themselves with pride by saying that I am a Bihari,” Kumar said.
Underlining the contribution of migrants from his state, Kumar said, “We have come and settled here, and now we belong to Delhi. Those who came here, their children were born here — members of the second and third generation are here now. People from Bihar do not leave the place they go to, they stick there strongly, they struggle. Biharis have an attribute that they do not depend on anyone’s mercy, they build their identity on their own. In Delhi, many have formed their identities. I always say, people of my Bihar do not add to anyone’s burden when they go out. Instead, they lift people’s burden and form their identity,” he said.
Kumar said the decision to contest municipal polls came after consultations with residents. “In order to make our identity, and considering people’s wish, we have decided to participate in municipal polls here,” he said.
While the JD(U) has decided to contest municipal polls independently despite having received support from parties such the Congress and AAP in the past few years, Kumar’s speech did not address the issue. However, his address emphasised the need for full statehood being given to Delhi — an issue often raised by AAP. “Delhi has become a state but what kind of a state is it? Law and order and other work is under the Centre. We want Delhi to get full statehood. A lot of hurdles get created due to this,” Kumar said.
The event in Burari also saw comparisons between Bihar and the national capital on the issues of law and order and sanitation. JD(U) Delhi in-charge Sanjay Jha maintained that Delhi was not just Connaught Place and the villages in Bihar were better than parts of Delhi.
“On entering Delhi, it becomes clear — how are roads, and basic facilities that people should be receiving — be it drinking water or drainage, sewage. The lack of all these facilities becomes visible… Bihar was defamed a lot but when you see the condition in various parts of Delhi, the condition of our villages in Bihar is better,” Kumar said.
“There is only talk about making a Smart City, at least make Delhi smart. What is the condition of Delhi? How are people leading their lives? Through their hard-earned money, people make living arrangements here but till now they do not receive facilities which they should be getting,” he said.