By Gaurav Sharma
Purnia, (IANS) As Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar Sunday toured Kishanganj district, over one lakh people gathered in neighbouring Purnia to vent anger on the alleged failures of his government at a rally organised by a BJP MP.
“People used to say that Bihar has changed and I used to think on the same lines but for the past two years stagnancy has crept in the state. The monster of corruption has swallowed the schemes of poor people,” MP from Purnia Uday Singh of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), an alliance partner in the government headed by Nitish Kumar of the Janata Dal-United (JD-U), said here addressing the massive crowd at Indira Gandhi stadium.
Nitish Kumar is touring the state as part of his ‘Adhikar Yatra’ aimed at highlighting his government’s achievements. He is facing protests in some districts in the region for various reasons, including corruption and poor power supply.
Holding umbrellas and sheets of news papers to protect themselves from the scorching heat, over one lakh people, mostly from villager, shouted anti-government slogans at the rally addressed by Uday Singh in Purnia, over 300 km from Patna.
The sporadic languid wave of hands evoked the picture of a Mexican wave at any sports stadium. Uday Singh was critical of the state-sponsored schemes for the poor which he alleged were not benefiting them.
Though Uday Singh refrained from launching a personal attack on Nitish Kumar, he said that the chief minister was surrounded by a coterie of sycophants in Patna.
“I have no doubt about the integrity of Nitish Kumar and (deputy chief minister) Sushil Modi but they are surrounded by sycophants who don’t apprise them of the ground realities,” he said.
He criticised the government’s policy of increasing revenue by promoting the consumption of alcohol.
The MP even said it was high time that the government listened to the poor otherwise their anger will turn into a movement.
When IANS asked the MP whether his rally might ruffle a few feathers in his party, he said: “I don’t care as I am reflecting the anguish of people. Let them think whatever they want to. I represent the people first.”
He said there was great resentment among the JD-U legislators.
“There is no potable water in my village and I drink water from the well which is not safe. There is no power and no kerosene oil to light a lamp. We live in darkness,” said 28-year-old Chote Lal Mukhia.
There was heavy traffic jam in this small town due to massive crowd for the rally.
“Almost 80 percent teachers in government schools are those who cannot spell the names of their students properly. It’s a farce,” a man in his 60s alleged.
“Nitish babu flies in the plane and overlooks the realities on the ground,” he said.
Uday Singh said that over the past two years there was a growing disconnect between the masses and the government which had led to widespread anger among people.