Prime Minister Narendra Modi made a strong development pitch as he kickstarted his campaign for Bihar assembly elections, where the Bharatiya Janata Party wants to capture power in the face of an united opposition.
Sharing the state with rival and state chief minister Nitish Kumar in Patna, Modi promised the audience that he will soon unveil a package worth over Rs 50,000 crore for Bihar, which has traditionally been a backward state in terms of development indicators. "Bihar's development has suffered due to politics. I realize that to meet my hopes for Bihar, that amount isn't enough. So I won't announce anything today," Modi said.
Modi also brought up the fact that Bihar will receive Rs 3.75 lakh crore this year as a result of the government's decision to give higher share of funds to states as compared with the previous model where the central government used to decide ways to spend on development schemes and states had little say on money spent on such projects. "We are in favour of giving states as much help as we can," he said. Earlier, Bihar received 2.5 lakh crore.
He made another promise: to bring gas to each household. "We already have the river Ganga. We will now bring an 'Urja Ganga' to Bihar. It is an expensive proposition. But once we do it, it will help improve the quality of life, and the economy."
Earlier Nitish Kumar sought Modi's assurance that railway projects would be completed. To which Modi replied that such projects which were created when Kumar was the railway minister, will be a priority. "Had Atalji (former prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee) been elected again, this project would have been finished much sooner. But now we have come back to complete it," Modi said.
Modi will step up his campaign later today in Muzzaffarpur, where he is scheduled to address a huge gathering.