Addressing rallies Wednesday in the Seemanchal region in the state’s northeast, which has a sizeable minority community, Chief Minister Nitish Kumar reached out to Muslims, addressing fears over the Citizenship (Amendment) Act and reminding the crowds that his government had increased salaries for teachers in madrasas.
With the region seeing widespread protests against the CAA, Nitish said at Kishanganj that his government had worked to “spread love, peace and brotherhood”, and “nobody had the strength to send anyone out of the country”.
Attacking those “spreading rumours on the CAA and NRC (National Register of Citizens)”, the JD(U) leader said, “Who keeps spreading misinformation, keeps talking rubbish? 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 (All belong to Hindustan, all belong to Bharat. Who will throw anyone out)?”
Nitish said his government had always “worked for an environment of love, brotherhood, compassion”. “We tried to unite everyone. Some people want that society keeps fighting, (so that) there is no need to work. We keep working, that is our goal. When everyone lives in peace, love and brotherhood, only then will society go forward, people will go forward, development will happen.”
At a rally in Araria, Nitish said only his government had thought of teachers in madrasas. “Earlier, did teachers in madrasas get anything? Sanskrit teachers and madrasa teachers had gone to Patna… it was not our government then… Did they get anything?… The salaries that are given to government schoolteachers, that is what we give to teachers in madrasas.”
With Asaduddin Owaisi’s AIMIM expected to make gains in the region, Nitish urged the crowd to think “carefully” about “how much work” his government had done. “Earlier how many madrasas were recognised? How many more madrasas did we recognise?”
Nitish also focused in his speeches on his government’s work for marginalised communities as well as women, considered his loyal constituency.
In Araria, he said, “Those that were on the margins, we 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 50% reservation in panchayati raj institutions and municipal corporations. Three times elections have happened and look at the high number of women (participating)… In the same way, for Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes and Extremely Backward Classes, we gave reservations. And in EBCs, everyone is included, from every religion.”
Nitish added that when he first came to power, children from marginalised communities would not even attend school. “We found that these were either from the Mahadalit or minority communities… We worked to get them to school and created tola sevaks, markaz sevaks, we put 30,000 people to work… Now there is nobody left out, close to nothing.”
Attacking the RJD over its government’s record on law and order, the CM said, “Did anyone dare 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.”
📣 The Indian Express is now on Telegram. Click here to join our channel (@indianexpress) and stay updated with the latest headlines