'Those Who Couldn't Even Hold a Cabinet Meet…': Nitish Hits Back at Tejashwi's Promise of 10 Lakh Jobs
Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar addresses a virtual election meeting in Patna, on Monday. (PTI)
Making light of RJD leader Tejashwi Yadav's promise to provide 10 lakh jobs if elected to power, Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar on Monday said those who could not even hold a cabinet meeting properly during their reign are today talking about sanctioning lakhs of government jobs at the very first cabinet meeting.
Yadav, the CM face of the Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD)-led Mahagathbandhan, has made joblessness in Bihar an election issue. During a recent press conference held in Patna, Yadav promised to approve "around 10 lakh jobs in the first cabinet. These jobs would be government employment and permanent. There will be advertisements and in a time-bound manner, the appointments would be made."
Yadav has repeatedly criticised the government over the state's 46.6% unemployment rate, which is one of the highest in the country, and created a job portal, in which he claims to have received applications from 22.58 lakh Bihar residents.
Virtually addressing party workers and voters of 11 Assembly constituencies that will go to vote in the first phase on October 28, Kumar, who is also the president of the ruling Janata Dal (United), said, "What is it that they say? 'We will hold a cabinet meeting and approve 10 lakh jobs'. In their time, they could not even hold a cabinet meeting, let alone the question of getting any work done." He wondered whether any government in the world could generate limitless employment for its people.
"One should be wary of false claims. There are people who are trying to sell you sand castles. Beware of them," Kumar said. “These people,” the JD(U) chief said, "should tell us how many jobs they created in the 15 years they had. And we'll tell them how many people we have provided employment to (during his terms as CM since 2005)." The RJD was in power in Bihar from 1990 to 2005.
Referring to Yadav, he further said “these people” have neither the experience nor the will to work. "For me, the entire Bihar is my family. But for some, their family is paramount. Husband, wife, son, that is all some people can think of," Nitish said, in a veiled attack on jailed RJD chief Lalu Yadav’s family. He also repeated his 'Pati Patni Raj' jibe that he has been making in every political campaign speech he has made over the past one month.
Kumar said that the younger people, who did not know about the 15 years of Yadav family 'misrule', needed to be reminded about the sea change that he had brought about in Bihar over the past one-and-a-half decades.
"I will speak to youngsters about it every day. It is my duty to create a suitable space for the development of youngsters. We are trying to ensure that the situation is created so that no person from Bihar has to go outside looking for work," the chief minister said.
He had made a similar point in his first political speech on September 7. In the e-rally that he had held a month ago, Kumar had spoken about the 'Pati Patni Raj', about the assistance the JD(U)-led state government had offered to incoming migrant workers, and the generosity with which the Centre has been helping Biharis suffering from the twin shocks of coronavirus and floods.
Kumar said that he would address another virtual rally on Tuesday for some other constituencies that will see voting in the first round. Altogether 71 constituencies will be held in Bihar's first phase of Assembly election.
From Wednesday onwards, he would start touring different constituencies to seek votes for NDA candidates. Seeking to set "15 years vs 15 years" as the poll narrative for the present elections, Kumar urged people to judge the developmental work done during the two equal periods and then vote.