As focus shifts to the third phase of the Bihar elections, where the Seemanchal region in Bihar’s north-east, with a sizeable minority community, will go to polls, Chief Minister Nitish Kumar reached out to Muslims in rallies on Wednesday, reminding people that his government had increased salaries for teachers in madrasas, and attempted to allay fears over Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA).
In a region that saw widespread protests against CAA, Kumar said he had worked to spread love, peace and brotherhood, and nobody had the strength to “send anyone out of the country.”
Speaking at a rally in Araria on Wednesday afternoon, the Chief Minister said that while earlier governments had done nothing to increase salaries for teachers in madarsas, his government had done so. “Earlier, did teachers in madrasas get anything? Tell me, Sanskrit teachers and madrasa teachers had gone to Patna to demand, it was not our government then. They had gone no? Did they get anything? When we got an opportunity, we started working for them. And in the end what happened.
The salaries that are given to government school teachers, that is what we give to teachers in madrasas. Please think, how much work was done. Earlier how many madrasas were recognised? How many more madrasas did we recognise? Please think carefully,” he said.
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In a subsequent rally in Kishanganj, Nitish attacked those “spreading rumours on CAA and NRC”. “Who keeps spreading misinformation? Keeps saying rubbish things? Who will send anyone out of the country? Nobody has the strength to do that to our people. Sab Hindustan ke hain, sab Bharat ke hain. Kaun isko bahar karega?” Kumar said.
“Since when you have given us a chance, you tell me, we have worked for an environment of love, of brotherhood, of compassion. We tried to unite everyone. Some people want that society keeps fighting, there is no need to work. And we keep working, that is our goal that when everyone lives in peace, love and brotherhood, only then will society go forward, people will go forward, and development will happen,” Kumar said.
Apart from this, much of Kumar’s focus in his Wednesday speeches was on work done for communities such as women, considered a loyal constituency of Kumar, and work for underprivileged groups.
In Araria, he said, “Those who were on the margins, we have made special policies for them. Please see what respect women were given before? There were so few public representatives. When we got an opportunity, we gave them a 50 per cent reservation in panchayati raj institutions and municipal corporations. Three times elections have happened and look at the high numbers of women in politics. How good it has been. In the same way for scheduled castes, scheduled tribes and extremely backward classes we gave reservation too. And in EBC, everyone is included, from every religion and you can see everyone got respect.”
Kumar said that when they assumed power, children from marginalised communities were not making it to school. “We analysed and found that these were either from the mahadalit communities or minority community. “We did work to get them to school and created tola sevak, markaz seva, we put thirty thousand people to work…now there is nobody left out, close to nothing. So those who have been marginalised, we worked for them,” he said.
In Araria, he also kept up the attack on the RJD’s record on law and order and said, “Law and order has been controlled. Did anyone dare to go out earlier? Now you can see the peace in society. There was so much crime, so many riots, so many kidnappings. We controlled all this.”
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