Patna: The ruling JD(U) and the Opposition RJD on Tuesday engaged in a blame game over NITI Aayog CEO Amitabh Kant's assertion that eastern India, particularly states like Bihar, UP and Chattisgarh, were responsible for the country's backwardness.
Terming Kant's statement as "unfortunate" and "irresponsible", Leader of Opposition Tejashwi Prasad Yadav took a dig at chief minister Nitish Kumar for maintaining silence over the matter.
"Bihar CM Nitish Kumar should condemn Kant's statement. He should tell people that Niti Aayog is lying to them... Why can't he muster courage to speak against the statement, which not only lowers the morale of the people but belittles the state's contribution to the nation's development?" he said.
Kant, while speaking at the Jamia Millia Islamia University in Delhi yesterday, said eastern India, particularly states like Bihar, UP, Chhattisgarh, is keeping India backward, especially on the social indicators.
"There is NDA government both at Centre and in the state and even after 13 year of JD(U)-NDA sushashan (good governance), and Babus (officers) are saying that Bihar is a backward state," Yadav, the former Bihar deputy CM, quipped.
"Biharis pay taxes, just like people in other parts of the country. The state gave 33 MPs to the NDA and seven Union ministers," he said.
The ruling JD(U), however, said "unbalanced development" was the reason behind the country's sluggish growth rate. The equitable growth of all states can lead to the overall development of the nation, JD(U) MLC and spokesman Niraj Kumar said.
In a veiled reference to the erstwhile Congress government at the Centre, Kumar asked people to think carefully about "who was to be blamed for India's lopsided development" so far.
The Bihar Legislature had unanimously passed a resolution for according special category status to the state and remove inequality.
"Despite being enlisted in backward states, Bihar's growth rate in the construction sector has been better than the national average growth in past 12 years... The state cannot be held responsible for not achieving a desired goal on the human development index. It has to deal with natural calamities like floods because of rivers that originate in other states," he said.
The secretary of Patna-based Asian Development Research Institute (ADRI), Shaibal Gupta, said Amitabh Kant should be sacked for his "reckless" statement.
"Kant has no sense of history or understanding about the hindi heartland... We must know that Bihar and UP were subjected to adversarial treatment by the British for their persevered attempts to fuel national freedom movements," Gupta said.
"We would appeal to the Prime Minister to sack him. It does not augur well that an important lieutenant of the government is making a statement with undertones of discrimination at a time when the nation needs empathy and integration more than ever," he said.
Firstpost is now on WhatsApp. For the latest analysis, commentary and news updates, sign up for our WhatsApp services. Just go to Firstpost.com/Whatsapp and hit the Subscribe button.
Updated Date: Apr 24, 2018 20:12:52 IST