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Quotas, Riot Aid & Scheme for Girls: Nitish Reaches out to Marginalised Sections on Day 2 of Virtual Rally

Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar addresses a virtual election meeting in Patna. (PTI)

Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar addresses a virtual election meeting in Patna. (PTI)

Bihar CM Nitish Kumar addressed Dalits, OBCs, Muslims and women and reminded them how the various reservations introduced over his three terms had changed their lives for the better.

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Suhas Munshi

In his second back-to-back virtual rally on Tuesday, Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar reached out to the marginalised sections of society reminding them how the various reservations he had introduced over his three terms had changed their lives for the better.

"It was under my government that 50% reservation was announced in the judicial services for Extremely Backward Classes, Other Backward Classes, Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes. It was under my tenure that reservation was introduced for EBCs in local body elections. Many people had opposed these moves then. Some even went to court against it. Ultimately, we were proved right," Kumar, the Janata Dal-United (JD-U) said in his Nischay Samvad e-rally.

Kumar also elaborated on schemes like 'Udyami Yojana' that were floated by his government to provide financial assistance to socially backward classes.

He talked about the 50% reservations for women in panchayats and cooperative societies announced during his reign and the sea-change it brought about in the lives of the women of Bihar.

"We always received criticism for our work but our detractors were proven wrong and we were proved right each time. When we announced the scheme to provide cycles to girls to help them reach schools, we were jeered and mocked. But look at the success such schemes brought to Bihar. Barely one lakh girl students appeared for 9th class exams when I first took over as CM. Today, if you look at data...in recent board exams, more than 9 lakh girls, in fact, more than boys, appeared for their matriculation exams," the JD(U) chief said.

It was through such schemes that the number of pregnancies came down and women of the state were able to focus on their education and careers. "Perhaps in no other part of the country so many women are part of a state's police force. That happened because we implemented reservations for women in the police force," Kumar said.

If voted to power again, the JD(U) chief promised to provide financial assistance of Rs 25,000 for girls who finish their schooling and Rs 50,000 for those completing their college exams.

Kumar also talked at length about the programmes and assistance his government had provided to the state's Muslim community.

"What happened after the Bhagalpur riots. Did those people do anything? After 15 years, a commission was set up by us. Compensation was provided and the guilty were brought to book," Nitish Kumar said.

"When we came to power, the victim families of Bhagalpur riots were given a monthly pension of Rs 2500 every month which was doubled to Rs 5000 in 2013," he said.

More than 1,000 people, most of them Muslims, were killed in clashes in Bihar's Bhagalpur, in what was considered the biggest instance of communal bloodshed in post-Independent India. In 2005, nearly 15 years after the riots, Kumar had set up an inquiry commission under Justice NN Singh. The panel report held the then Congress government, led by Chief Minister Satyendra Narayan Sinha, responsible for the riots.

In his speech on Tuesday, Kumar also raised questions about the inaction on the communal clashes by jailed Rashtriya Janata Dal president Lalu Prasad Yadav who took over as Bihar chief minister in 2005 and went on to govern the state for the next 15 years.

"People keep taking votes from minorities but they don't tell us what they have done for the community," Kumar said.

"We will go to people with a list of all the work we have done. Let other people also show to the public a list of their works. For them, their family is most important. For me what else do I have? Entire Bihar is my family," Kumar said.


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