Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday announced a much-awaited Rs.1.25 lakh crore special package for Bihar ahead of the assembly polls. He said the aid will “change the face of Bihar”.
He made the announcement during his address at Ara, district headquarters of Bhojpur, about 60 km from Patna, after he laid the foundation stones for 10 road projects.
Modi said: “From the land of Ara and legendary freedom fighter Veer Kunwar Singh, I am happy to announce a package of Rs 1.25 lakh crore for Bihar’s development to fulfil my promise.”
Thousands of people chanted Modi-Modi as he made the announcement.
He said Rs 40,000 crore left from an earlier aid to the state will also be given, taking the total amount of central assistance to Rs 1.65 lakh crore.
Modi recalled that when he had visited the state prior to the last Lok Sabha elections, he had announced he would give Bihar a special package of Rs 50,000 crore.
But looking at the dreams for a prosperous Bihar, it was later decided to give a bigger package, Modi said.
“If we want to solve people’s problems, then the only way ahead is development,” Modi said.
However, Chief Minister Nitish Kumar described the relief as the state’s right and not a favour by anyone.
Nitish Kumar tweeted: “While I will wait to hear details of the so-called package announced by Modi, I emphasize, special assistance is our right and not a favour.”
Modi questioned Nitish Kumar’s anger for calling Bihar “bimaru” (sick) and saying that “they say Bihar is not ‘bimaru’, and then they make demands…”.
To this, Nitish Kumar responded: “Calling my efforts for getting special status to Bihar a solicitation, I just want to say if I have to go to someone’s door as a beggar for Bihar and people of Bihar, I have no hesitation.”
Modi also said that the central government was formulating special schemes to empower women and OBCs in the state.
He spoke a few lines in Bhojpuri language and greeted the people.
Modi was earlier received at Patna airport by Governor Ram Nath Kovind and Chief Minister Nitish Kumar.
He laid the foundation stone of a four-lane road connecting Patna and Buxar in Ara.
All private schools in Ara were closed on Monday and Tuesday due to restrictions on plying of school buses on several routes through the town and for security reasons.
Modi will also address the Bharatiya Janata Party third parivartan rally in Saharsa district in flood-prone Kosi region.
He has already addressed two election rallies in Muzaffarpur and Gaya ahead of the forthcoming assembly polls.