Slamming his bete noir Narendra Modi on his completing one year in office, Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar has said the only remarkable thing during the period was that prime minister has more selfies than all his cabinet colleagues put together.
“He (Modi) has more selfies than all the ministers in his cabinet put together... What the people voted for was selfless leadership and what they have got is selfie leadership,” Kumar said in a blog he wrote for a private TV channel as reaction to Modi365.
“Apparently some of this (selfies) have created a new global recognition for India... It’s typical illustration of more style over substance, more raucous about nothing than the music of change to the ears of common man,” he said.
Kumar in his blog claimed that even the most articulate ministers and supporters of ‘Modi sarkar’ do not have an answer to the question as to what has the government accomplished.
“In contrast, any average person can easily tell you what the government did not deliver. Ask a farmer, an unemployed youth, a housewife, an artisan, an informed citizen, an academician or even the people who voted for Modi sarkar a year ago -- they will have no problem articulating what the government did not deliver,” he remarked.
Commenting on Modi’s foreign tours, Kumar said, “Probably, the prime minister has so far visited more countries in the world than states in India, and he has certainly made more visits than the external affairs minister of the country. Yet the border situation with respect to Pakistan and China has gotten worse.”
He highlighted the alleged unfulfilled poll promises of the PM of bringing back every penny of black money, offering Rs 15 lakh-Rs 20 lakh from it to every poor person in the country and giving 5-10 per cent of it as gift to tax payers, especially the salaried class.
Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh who was the then Bharatiya Janata Party president had set a 100-day timeline for it. “Moreover, Baba of Modi prime ministerial campaign yoga guru Ramdev publicly undersigned the commitment through his statements,” Kumar said.
Continuing his criticism, he said farmers remember the PM’s promise to raise minimum support price to 150 per cent of the input costs, while youths have repeatedly heard him promise that sufficient job opportunities would be created and families of defence personnel about the one rank one pension. “But none of these have been delivered.”
Kumar in his blog said the magic woven by Modi to come to power was on the wane. “One year on, there is no magic anymore. There are signs of unprecedented rural distress and prices of all essential commodities continue to rise.
“The simplest answer about the Modi sarkar has come from the PM himself when he asked people of Delhi to vote for ‘Naseebwala’ in February this year. However, even this is failing,” he remarked.
Referring to Bihar, its chief minister said the year under Modi’s rule has been the greatest disappointment so far for its people.
“The prime minister and other key leaders of BJP have on record promised special attention, special assistance and special category status for Bihar,” he said.
But what the Union government had done for Bihar in the last one year was clearly not special, said Kumar, who drove his party Janata Dal-United to severe ties with BJP in June 2013 over Narendra Modi’s elevation in the party.
“By accepting the recommendations of the 14th Finance Commission while making no consideration for states as Bihar that will lose critical resources, the Government of India has pushed Bihar towards a financial crisis.
“Even when the finance minister announced special assistance to Bihar and West Bengal on the lines of Andhra Pradesh in his budget speech, he did not incorporate this in the Finance Bill that followed nor has any concrete step been taken to translate the specific promise into something tangible,” he said.
Referring to Modi government’s alleged failed promise to farmers, he said, “In a recent affidavit filed by the government of India in Supreme Court, the government stated that is economically unviable to offer a minimum support price of 150 per cent of input costs to the farmers.”
Furthermore, farmers across the country are living in fear about the Modi government’s intent to snatch away their land without consent through changes proposed in land acquisition bill, the Bihar chief minister alleged.
Politically, BJP has liberated itself from any trust in the coalition building process through its conduct with Shiv Sena and Akali Dal, Kumar commented.
Kumar, who would be facing the crucial Bihar assembly poll later this year, said the saffron party in the state was resorting to the same tactics of making promises to people which would be later reclassified as ‘Jumlas’ as in BJP chief Amit Shah comments of 2015.
Image: Prime Minister Narendra Modi poses for a picture with a student at Fudan University in Shanghai. Photograph: Aly Song/Reuters