Chief minister Nitish Kumar sought to consolidate his support base with his first Independence Day speech after the split with the BJP and sent out a message that he was firmly in the saddle.
From announcements aimed at girls’ to strengthening police presence, all found place in Nitish’s speech to the people from Gandhi Maidan in Patna.
To the contract teachers — at least 2.5 lakh of whom had waged a war against the government with their demand for better pay scale — he announced a hike of Rs 3,000 per month.
For the women who had solidly backed him in the 2009 Lok Sabha and the 2010 Assembly polls, Nitish had another gift. So far, only girls from the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes enjoyed scholarship till Class X. Nitish on Thursday announced scholarship for all girls, irrespective of classes I to X.
He asserted that he was capable of maintaining law and order in the state, an area that has taken a beating since the Bodhgaya blasts last month. In an obvious reference to the spate of communal violence and tension across the state, he said: “Incidents and developments in the recent past have thrown new challenges to the government and the administration.”
This Independence Day, he also reminded the people that he had not forgotten his promise for power made last year.
“In the past year, we have started a drive to strengthen infrastructure as a result of which today we are consuming 1,950MW.” He added that the thermal plant in Muzaffarpur will start production this year. With the commissioning of other projects, he declared: “By 2015, the availability of power will be 4,000MW.”
“Most of the achievements he claimed have been stated in his earlier speeches from Gandhi Maidan. But on previous occasions, it was for the NDA government. This time it was for the JD(U) government,” said a senior Congress leader.