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'Bunch of Lies': Cong Slams Nitish, Says Rs 1,559 Cr Spent Out of PM Modi;s Rs 1.25 Lakh Cr Bihar Package

File photo of Congress spokesperson Randeep Surjewala.  (Image: PTI)

File photo of Congress spokesperson Randeep Surjewala. (Image: PTI)

Terming Modi and Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar as 'jumlebaz' (who gives false promises) and 'dhokhebaz' (traitor) respectively, Surjewala alleged in a press conference here that that the two leaders have provided a 'nakara raj' (worthless government) to the people of the state.

Congress general secretary Randeep Surjewala on Tuesday claimed that works worth only Rs 1,559 crore, out of the special package of Rs 1.25 lakh crore announced by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in 2015 for Bihar, were completed in five years making it a "zero package". In the run-up to the Bihar Assembly polls in 2015, the prime minister had announced a mega economic package of Rs 1.25 lakh crore in central funds for the state.

Terming Modi and Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar as 'jumlebaz' (who gives false promises) and 'dhokhebaz' (traitor) respectively, Surjewala alleged in a press conference here that that the two leaders have provided a 'nakara raj' (worthless government) to the people of the state. "The jumla package of Modi ji and Nitish Babu has become a zero package and a bunch of lies. Out of the Rs 1.25 lakh crore package, works worth a paltry sum of Rs 1,559 crore could be executed in the past five years," he claimed.

Out of the Rs 1.25 lakh crore, the government earmarked Rs 54,713 crore for road and bridge projects, said Surjewala, who was recently named chairman of the party's election management committee. A number of national highways, bridges over rivers Ganga, Sone and Kosi, besides 12 railway overbridges were to be built as part of the road projects, the Congress leader said.

But, as per the information given by the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways, out of 44 national highways that were to be built in the past five years, works on 27 were not completed while detailed projects reports (DPR) could not be prepared for the remaining 17, he claimed. On why the road projects could not be undertaken or completed, the Centre gave excuses that land acquisition was not carried out, contractors did not work, environmental clearances were not given to the projects, Surjewala said.

These were stated by the central government in Parliament on February 10 this year, he said. Besides, road projects worth Rs 26,997.37 crore were either shelved or DPR was not prepared, he said.

Enlisting other projects which are the part of PMs package but was not undertaken, he said that not a brick was laid to set up a central university at the historic place of Vikramshila in Bhagalpur, while the skill development university also remained a non-starter in five years. The Rs 10,000 crore Buxar thermal power plant, for which an MoU was signed in 2013 during the UPA regime, has been kept on the backburner, the chief spokesman of the Congress said.

Attacking both the prime minister and the Bihar chief minister who is also the JD(U) boss, Surjewala said that the Modi government refused to construct a museum on Lord Ram and Goddess Sita at Punaura Dham in Sitamarhi district, considered as her birthplace. The Centre could sanction just Rs 37 crore for 'Ramayan Circuit tourism project as against the announcement for giving Rs 100 crore for the purpose, he said.

"Those who could not even be loyal to Siyaram (Sita and Ram), cannot be loyal to anyone," Surjewala alleged and exhorted the people of the state that time has come to throw the BJP and the JD(U) out of power. "The jumlebaz (Modi) will come to Bihar on October 23 where the dhokhebaz (Nitish Kumar) will be there. I am raising these issues as people should ask these questions to them," he said.

The PM is scheduled to address the first set of election rallies in Sasaram, Gaya and Bhagalpur on October 23 and Kumar is supposed to attend the meetings to be addressed by Modi. Surjewala denied that his party is riding piggyback on the RJD, saying that the Congress contested 41 seats in Bihar in the 2015 Assembly election while it is contesting 70 seats this time.

This testifies that the party is expanding despite being in a mega alliance, he said. On the BJP's allegation that the 15-year rule of the RJD was a "jungle raj", Surjewala said, "The BJP-JD(U) has nothing to showcase and hence they would like to take you in the past. These two parties will remind you of the past while we (Congress) are an engine which will take you forward." People have to decide whether they want to progress or look into the past, he said.

first published:October 20, 2020, 22:14 IST