Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday presented a package of Rs 1.25 lakh crore for poll-bound Bihar saying it will change the fate of the state.
“I promise you I will implement this package fully. If we want to solve people’s problems then the only way ahead is development,” said Modi while addressing a rally in Arrah.
“Along with Rs 1.25 lakh crore package, an additional Rs 40,000 crore will also be spent on the state,” said Modi as the crowd cheered.
In the course of his speech, Modi also taunted chief minister Nitish Kumar once again and questioned his stand on the status on the state.
“When I called Bihar a Bimaru state, Nitish Kumar became upset. Now I agree with Nitish Kumar that Bihar is not a Bimaru state,” said Modi taking a dig at the CM.
“I will the happiest if Bihar stops being counted as one of the Bimaru states,” he said.
Earlier, Modi, who has already addressed two election rallies in Muzaffarpur and Gaya ahead of the Bihar assembly polls, inaugurated highway projects involving an investment of Rs 6,200 crore in the state.
Modi also laid the foundation stone of a four-lane road connecting Patna and Buxar in Arrah, the district headquarters of Bhojpur, about 60 km from Patna, before addressing the Bharatiya Janata Party rally in Saharsa district in flood-prone Kosi region. The project that had been pending for a long time. It is one of the key road projects of the state and will cost an estimated Rs 2,200-crore.
Expectations were high that the PM will announce a special package for the state in another attempt to power up his party’s campaign for the assembly elections due by October.
Sources said the modalities of the package have already been worked out and it could go beyond Rs 1 lakh crore, which will include several new and pending projects for power, roads, bridges, railway schemes, besides food and software technology parks.
In July, Modi had said in Patna that the Centre will sanction the economic package he had promised Bihar, but added he would not make the announcement at an appropriate time.
“Before the Lok Sabha polls, I promised Rs 50,000 crore for Bihar (if elected)… I will fulfill my promise and announce the package at the right time. And it will go much beyond what was promised, as I have now realised that Rs 50,000-crore will not help realise Bihar of my dream. I will announce it at the appropriate time. I will come to Bihar again after monsoon session ends,” Modi had said.
Bharatiya Janata Party leaders, like Union petroleum minister Dharmendra Pradhan and Sushil Kumar Modi, had claimed that Modi will announce the special package for Bihar on Tuesday.
Bihar chief minister Kumar, who has repeatedly demanded a special category status for Bihar and said anything less won’t help it develop, remained sceptical saying he had heard nothing new about the package so far and will wait for details before saying anything about it.
“First of all it’s a clear-cut violation of cooperative federalism that the state government has been kept in the dark, while BJP leaders are making statements about PM’s special package for the state. But, whatever I have heard so far there seems nothing new in the proposed special package,” Kumar told reporters in the state capital.
“I am waiting to see whether the special package will have new projects or merely repackaging of the old ones,” he said on Monday.
Kumar, who is already engaged in a war of words with the Prime Minister, said the four-lane highways from Buxar to Patna for which the PM would lay foundation stone was approved by the previous UPA government.
Accusing Modi of not fulfilling any promises he had made on the eve of the general elections last year, Kumar said, “Nobody is questioning his potential to make speeches. But, where is the delivery of any of the promises made during poll so far?”
The CM signalled that the special category status would be one of the important issues of the secular alliance in the Bihar poll and said it’s the demand of every citizen of Bihar.
Kumar said that Bihar was maintaining a growth rate of about 10% without any help from outside and if special status were granted it could make a big jump.