Modi govt giving benefits to industrialists at the cost of ordinary people: Nitish Kumar
Bihar CM Nitish Kumar accused the Narendra Modi-led BJP government of giving benefit to a section of industrialists at the cost of ordinary people.
Patna: Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar on Sunday accused the Narendra Modi-led BJP government of giving benefit to a section of industrialists at the cost of ordinary people.
"Nobody at the top is thinking about the people. They say one thing, do something else. They are out to please a few. There is a need for all inclusive development," Kumar told a rally of party workers at the Gandhi Maidan in Patna.
"The Union Budget presented yesterday is for the benefit of corporate houses. They are cutting down corporate tax from 30 percent to 25 percent. Wealth Tax has been removed and surcharge has been imposed on some people. This budget will affect the expansion of service sector and hit people with inflation," he said.
Quoting figures, which he said were from reliable agencies and available easily on internet, Kumar pointed out that the wealth of the top 10 to 12 billionaires in the country had gone up by Rs 42,460 crore over the last nine months since the BJP-led government came to power in the Centre.
"Wealth of one particular capitalist, whose name everybody takes, but I'll not take, has risen by Rs 16,740 crore over this short period," he said.
Kumar said it seemed 'achhe din' (good days) had come for those for whom it was intended. "It hasn't come for those for whom it was not meant to."
Extending his wishes to Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Mufti Mohammad Sayeed, who took oath on Sunday, Kumar did not spare the opportunity to flay Modi and played an audio clip in which the Prime Minister was heard lambasting 'father-daughter' and 'father-son' governments during one of his poll rallies there.
"He (Modi) kept talking about integrating Jammu and Kashmir with the rest of the country and what not. He talked about giving a chance to others instead of 'father-daughter' and 'father-son' governments. But now he has joined them. These people say one thing, do something else," Kumar said.
Flanked by JD(U) National President Sharad Yadav, state president Vashistha Narayan Singh and state cabinet ministers, MPs, MLAs, Kumar took on the Centre over the recommendations of the 14th Finance Commission and said Bihar would suffer a huge financial loss in comparison to the 13th Finance Commission recommendations.
"The BJP is harping that Bihar has got much in the 14th Finance Commission. If we consider everything including plan expenditure, Centre sponsored schemes, grants and special assistance, our state will suffer a loss of Rs 15,000 crore in 2015-16 over 2014-15. Our share has gone down from 10.92 percent to 9.6 percent," he said.
The Chief Minister said he raised the issue of stopping the money which the state had been getting under the provisions of Bihar Reorganisation Act with Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitely on 26 February in New Delhi.
Kumar added that he had called an all party meet over the Finance Commission recommendations.
"We will raise our voice against it. We will raise our voice for the money which is our right. We may move Supreme Court if justice is not done to us over the issue," he said.
Kumar reiterated that the demand for 'special category status' to Bihar still remained despite the Finance Commission saying that the difference between special and general category states had been removed.
"They have announced in the budget that Bihar will be given special assistance on the lines of Andhra Pradesh. We will keep a watch over it. The demand for special category status to Bihar will remain. They may say anything, but we will demand, we will agitate for it. We will demand our money, our right," he added.
Kumar hit out at the Centre for bringing Ordinance to make changes in the Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement Act 2013 and called it a "black law" that was against the interests of the farmers, as well as, the society.
"Earlier the consent of 80 percent land owners was mandatory during acquisition; the social impact assessment was to be considered and compensation was to be paid not only to the owners of the land, but also to those who work on it. All these have been changed. Land can be usurped forcibly. This is a black law. Nothing remains after it," he said.
The Chief Minister appealed to the farmers' cell of his party and people of the state to start a relentless campaign against the Ordinance.
"Relentless agitation should be started with a daylong fast across the state to demand that the central government withdraw the black law. A continuous public contact and awareness campaign should also be a part of it," Kumar said.
He also pointed that the Minimum Support Price (MSP) for crops had been raised hardly by 3 percent this year and the states were discouraged from giving bonus to their farmers.
"What happened to BJP's Lok Sabha poll promise of giving MSP at one-and-a-half times of the cost?" he asked.
Kumar also took on the saffron party over its changing stand on the issue of bringing back black money stashed in other countries and distributing Rs 15 to 20 lakh each among common people by playing audio clips of Modi, Home Minister Rajnath Singh, BJP President Amit Shah and Yoga guru Ramdev.
The crowd laughed and clapped as Kumar pointed out at the change in words spoken by these leaders and said, "You all (BJP leaders) are now saying you don't know know how much black money is stashed abroad. You all are now talking about making laws and punishment."
"You all (BJP leaders) cannot term your promises on black money as just a 'rhetoric' spoken during Lok Sabha poll campaign. The people will now not believe your promises," he said.
Asking JD(U) workers to remain united, he cautioned them against divisive forces that are trying to destroy social harmony and told them to counter such plans with all their might.
"Remain alert against forces that talk about 'ghar wapsi', 'love jihad', and to produce 10-20 children to divide the society. Remain united and counter them with all your might. Our aim is a developed and prosperous Bihar," he said.
Kumar called for one active party worker over every 10 houses in an election booth area, and 15 to 20 workers for every booth for the Assembly elections scheduled later this year.
"The fight is not between Hindus and Muslims, but orthodox Hindus and liberal Hindus. We have to work together to attain the lost glory of Bihar. Keep your enthusiasm intact, because we are going to fight those who are experts in spreading rumours and sowing disunity," he said.
Kumar, who took oath as Bihar CM for the fourth time on 22 February, reminisced about situations which forced him to return to the post.
"The party, which gave the biggest thing (CM post to Jitan Ram Manjhi) was left uncared. Its importance was not being understood. There were talks about destroying it. People were being sidelined. I had to take up the charge again because
people had started telling me that I'll be able to do something only when anything of the party would remain," he said.
"Party is above all. If it can give the position to you, it can also take it back. If Sharad Yadav asked him (Manjhi) to vacate the post, why did he feel bad?" he asked.
Kumar also apologised again for having quit the post of chief minister after the party's poor performance in the 2014 general elections and reiterated that he would not do so again.
"Nobody had sympathy for me having I left the chief minister's post. They criticized me and minced no words in telling that they felt cheated. On the other hand, the environment in Patna was dangerous. A cabinet meeting was called to dissolve the Legislative Assembly," Kumar said.
"My dilemma about coming back evaporated after that. I have accepted from heart the responsiblity which the party and Sharad Yadav have entrusted me. I'll lead from the front and not let Bihar's name be maligned," he said.
Kumar also asked party workers to carry his apology to the masses and assure them that he had come back so "there was no need to worry".
He pointed out that the opposition forces had been taken aback over his return, as it had spoilt their plan to accuse him of all the mistakes by the government and win in the upcoming Assembly polls.
"Let them (the opposition forces) remain perturbed. Their worries will now keep on increasing day by day. We will fight them and take our state towards progress," he said.
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