Four triumphant years of Nitish

P N Pandey

P N Pandey

The Nitish Kumr-led NDA government has completed four years in office in Bihar. They have been eventful years in restoring the distorted and fragmented image of the state. The Chief Minister is right in claiming that the restoration of law and order has been the biggest achievement of his government. Bihar has been able to wipe out the stigma of Wild West, the state had come to acquire during the 15-year Lalu Prasad-Rabri Devi rule. Kidnapping had become a cottage industry. People from outside feared to tread in Bihar. The action against Bahubalis has been a laudable step. The second achievement that Nitish Kumar counted is in the field of education. Over 2.25 lakh teachers have been appointed and 80,000 more would be given jobs soon. Primary school enrolments have improved tremendously. Now only ten lakh children remain out of schools against 25 lakh when the NDA government took over the reins. It is for the first time in the state that children have been given money to buy dresses. Girl students are being given cycles for going to schools. The scheme would soon cover BPL boys also. The school enrolment has been lauded even by the Central government. Closed or closing corporations and boards have been given a fresh lease of life. Many of them are earning profits. The work culture is being restored.

The New Year attractions

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There is no denying the fact that the happy impact of the Nitish Kumar government is quite visible in the state. Even the people outside Bihar appreciate this welcome change. But, the Opposition parties, including RJD, LJP and Congress, do not see improvement on the law and order front. If this assessment is for opposition sake, it may be skipped by the people. But if they have genuine feeling, it shows that these parties have not yet gone close to the people. The Chief Minister pooh-poohed the RJD assessment of the situation and sarcastically remarked “now they have got some work. For 15 years the Lalu Prasad and Rabri Devi have been resting on the oars”. If the Lalu-Rabri duo was ‘punished’ for deteriorating law and situation, Ramvilas Paswan was shown the doors for holding the state in a black-mailing grip. Sarkar ki chavi mere pas hai (I have the keys for forming a government), Paswan used to boast. Both of them have met their waterloo in the last Lok Sabha elections. Instead of ‘declaring’ the Nitish government ‘fail in all subjects’, Lalu Prasad would have done better to compare ‘achievements’ of his first four years with that of Nitish Kumar’s.

Nitish Kumar’s debit side, however, is in his failure to combat corruption, which has gone up by leaps and bounds. This may be an offshoot of cash flow directly to the doors of mukhias and panchayats. What the recent audit reports have revealed is just the tip of an iceberg. Graft has sunk deep. The ambitious job guarantee programme, NAREGA, has proved to be the mother of corruptions. Unchecked free hand to the bureaucracy has been playing spoilsport in the rural areas. The Chief Minister has to translate into action his promise to root out corruption. Wrong signals are going out. Even the problems brought before Nitish Kumar at the Chief Minister’s durbar are lost in the bureaucratic jungle. One single step that has inflicted maximum injuries to his image is the shifting away the police official, who dared to lodge an FIR against the Bihar Electricity Board chairman on corruption charges. All said and done Nitish Kumar might not have succeeded to the promised extent in providing ‘Sushan’ (good governance) but has definitely provided governance in the Wild West state. The woman empowerment by reserving 50 per cent seats in the grassroots democracy has made the Nitish government a role-model for the nation. Bihar has, to a great extent, regained its strength and the image as the land of Gautam Buddha and Nalanda and Vikramashila universities. The NDA government has miles to go to restore the prestige and honour of Bihar and Biharis. Kudos for Nitish Kumar!