Patna, Oct. 7: Nitish Kumar today resorted to caution while speaking on the jailed Lalu Prasad, but tried to snatch the toilet plank from Narendra Modi.
“Bihar was the first state to find that 56 lakh families belonging to the above poverty line (APL) were devoid of toilets in their homes. It initiated the scheme to build toilets for the APL families as well, apart from the BPL households, under the Lohiya Swakshata Abhiyan (Lohia cleanliness campaign),” the chief minister said.
Nitish asserted that he was the product of the Ram Manohar Lohia movement that had toilets for the poor in its focus. “We belong to the school of thought that has always given preference to sanitation for the people over emotive issues.”
Narendra Modi, the Gujarat chief minister, had recently chanted “pahale shauchalaya baad mein devalay (first toilet and later temple)”, fuelling a war of words between the BJP and its political rivals.
Nitish though was cautious when replying to questions on Lalu. Asked how the RJD chief would run the party from behind bars, he simply said: “Let him do it.”
Observers ascribed Nitish’s soft-pedalling on Lalu to the apprehension that a verbal attack might add to the anger among the Yadavs and Muslims, who are believed to be sympathetic to the RJD boss after the sentencing.
The chief minister, however, rebutted his former deputy Sushil Kumar Modi’s allegation that the JD(U) government was trying to create hurdles in the way of the October 27 Hunkar Rally by fixing President Pranab Mukherjee’s visit on October 26 and 27. ( )
“The state has no role whatsoever in fixing the President’s programme. His programme to visit the state came from Rashtrapati Bhavan in July itself,” Nitish said.
Rajan report: Nitish said he had written to finance minister P. Chidambaram on implementing the Raghuram Rajan panel report on backward states.