Bihar’s four-time Chief Minister Nitish Kumar — dubbed “Sushashan Babu (Mr Good Governance) — today appealed to the people in the name of his track record for a fifth term. “If you like my work, then please vote for me. Otherwise you have the liberty to choose your candidate,” he told the people at a virtual rally to launch his campaign for the state elections due later this month.
Eleven of the state’s 243 assembly constituencies vote in the first of the three-phase elections on October 28.
“We have done a lot. Please decide on basis of the work. If you give me another chance, we will work tirelessly,” the Chief Minister said.
In a first, the Chief Minister also attacked Tejashwi Yadav, the son of frenemy Lalu Yadav, who is leading the Rashtriya Janata Dal in absence of his father and is their Chief Ministerial candidate.
Lalu Yadav, who is in jail in connection with a battery of corruption cases, will not be contesting or campaigning for the first time in more than four decades.
Asking people to beware Tejashwi Yadav’s promise of providing 10 lakh jobs at his first cabinet meeting, Nitish Kumar directed a jibe at Lalu Yadav and his wife Rabri Devi, who ruled Bihar for more than 15 years.
Without naming Tejashwi Yadav, Nitish Kumar said, “You (the voters) should find out how many cabinet meetings used to take place during his parents’ 15-year-rule”.
All decisions at the time used to be taken “in anticipation of cabinet decision,” Mr Kumar said in a reminder of the period his alliance says was synonymous with lawlessness (Goonda raj), corruption and nepotism.
Over the last 15 years, more than six lakh people got government jobs, compared to the corresponding 95,000-plus figure during the RJD rule, he said.
Nitish Kumar also ridiculed the two Chief Ministerial candidates of the opposition – the Grand Alliance’s choice Tejashwi Yadav and Upendra Kushwaha, who is the candidate of the Third Front of Mayawati’s Bahujan Samaj Party and AIMIM.
“Kisi mein koi dam nahi hain (Neither has any potential),” Mr Kumar said, dismissing both top job hopefuls.
In his address, Mr Kumar also gave details of the implementation of his seven commitments made ahead of the 2015 elections. The list included the provision of electricity in every household, piped drinking water and 35 per cent reservation for women in government jobs.
His promises this time included providing skill training to young people of the state and more urbanization.
Mr Kumar, however, said he was unhappy that despite his best efforts for industrialization, not much could be done on this front. Industrialists, he said, were reluctant to come and invest in the state.
Bihar will vote on October 28, November 3 and 7 for a new government and the results will be announced on November 10.