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Jha blurts out bitter reality

- JD(U)’s star candidate unwittingly questions Nitish record

Filmmaker and JD(U) candidate from West Champaran, Prakash Jha, on Wednesday inadvertently questioned the Nitish Kumar government’s industry preparedness and its law and order.

While praising Nitish Kumar’s “good governance”, Jha gave away that lack of conducive atmosphere forced him to shelve his sugar factory plan for West Champaran. He also said that police took no action in a criminal case against hooliganism at Bettiah sadar hospital in 2009.

Jha had made a proposal before the State Investment Promotion Board to set up a sugar factory at Gurwalia in West Champaran.

Nitish and then deputy chief minister Sushil Kumar Modi had even laid its foundation stone on April 28, 2007. A Rs 350-crore plant called Maurya Sugar Factory, owned by Jha, was to come up on 300 acres by 2010. But The Telegraph team visiting the site during Nitish’s Seva Yatra on November 10, 2011, four years after the foundation stone was laid, found thick and tall shrubs engulfing the factory’s billboard.

Asked of the sugar factory’s fate, he blamed lack of conducive atmosphere among reasons (See chart) why it was shelved.

He said he had offered to return the land to farmers but they said they had given land for a factory and would like to see something tangible and productive there. “Now, the landowners’ society has signed a contract with me (firm) to carry out pisciculture on 45 acres. We are also exploring what other industries can come up there,” Jha said.

Jha, who talked of Nitish’s good governance, exposed another exception when he said the police took no action in a criminal case lodged by his supporters when sitting West Champaran MP Sanjay Jaiswal’s supporters indulged in hooliganism at Bettiah sadar hospital and beat up his people after the results of the 2009 Lok Sabha election was declared. Jha had contested the 2009 elections on an LJP ticket and lost, despite polling 1.52 lakh votes. He had volunteered to run the Sadar hospital but abandoned it after the violence. “An FIR was lodged but nothing happened. I also spoke to Nitish in this regard. I do not know what happened after that,” Jha said.

Jha, whose name Nitish declared as the JD(U) candidate from West Champaran during his Sankalp Yatra on March 6, claimed there was no contest in his constituency.

“I have visited 126 villages of eight panchayats in the past eight to 10 days. People are coming forward to extend their support. There is no Modi wave here,” he said.

Jha said it was a “wrong political decision” to join Paswan’s LJP. Asked why he switched over to the JD(U), he said: “Although I never supported the JD(U)-BJP alliance, I liked Nitish’s policies and politics of taking every section of society along. Nitish has a done a lot in the past eight years and we need a big leap forward from here. This is only possible if Nitish’s hold in Delhi are strengthened.”

Jha — who made movieslike Damul, Mrityudand, Gangaajal, Apaharan — is locked in a triangular contest with the BJP’s Sanjay Jaiswal and the RJD’s Raghunath Jha.


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