Spring back in state stride

Debaters relate optimism to Bihar's glorious past, potential & girl power; logic on caste politics falls through

(From left) Suraj Kumar, Ajit Pradhan, Chirag Paswan, Rukmini Banerji, The Telegraph resident editor Devdan Mitra, moderator Sankarshan Thakur, Ajay Alok, sociologist Anand Kumar and mathematician Anand Kumar at The Telegraph Bihar Debate 2015 at Maurya on Friday. Pictures by Deepak Kumar, Nagendra Kumar Singh, Ashok Sinha, Ranjeet Kumar Dey, Sachin and Jai Prakash

Experts from different backgrounds deliberated on whether the resurgence of Bihar is an impossible dream or not. Excerpts:

Ajay Alok (for)

When the jdu formed the government in bihar in 2005, everybody thought bihar could not change. But today, bihar's model of growth is being talked about not only in this country but also abroad. people, who were not satisfied with the work of the upa government at the centre, voted for the bjp (referring to the 2014 lok sabha elections) and we lost in bihar. people who know nitish's work said: "nitish ke kaam ki majduri nitish ko nahi mili (nitish did not get the remuneration for his work)." everyone knows that nitish worked honestly. we are sitting on the edge of elections again and if we lose again, then resurgent bihar is an impossible dream.

Women in the audience use their laptops 

Sudhanshu Trivedi (against)

Bihar has been the epicentre of several revolutions like the one at champaran led by gandhiji and the jp movement, which changed the chemistry of politics of independent india. these prove that bihar is an intellectually rich state.

Apart from the intellectual population, the state has fertile (agriculturally rich) and most densely populated land. if we want india to be the intellectual capital of this world, it is not possible without the resurgence of bihar. the state's resurgence is possible because resurgence in india has started. the growth rate of india is 7.5 per cent, which is 0.1 per cent more than that of china. india is the fastest growing economy.

Anand Kumar (for)

If i dream and it is bulldozed each time, I shall not dare to dream again. That is what has happened with the people of bihar. the state with the glorious history has almost died because of politics based on caste. bihar is the land of revolution and freedom movement, which has witnessed swadeshi and champaran movements. weak socio-economic structure, high population, migration of brains for jobs have led to the deterioration of the state. in my opinion, resurgence is not likely to come in the near future till women and youth share a good space and a leadership develops beyond caste politics. the state needs large villages of 5,000 people, energy and irrigation, new leadership and activists for resurgence.

Ajit Pradhan (against)

Courage, creativity and expectation prompt resurgence. the state has got huge untapped potential but development is still a dream in bihar.

The state with the glorious history of the mauryan period and the seat of buddhism has been destructed because of communal and caste politics. we need good policies and infrastructure to contribute to the development of the state. if we examine the last decade - the restoration of law and order in the state was a great relief. in my opinion, the state's growth is possible with the revival of sugar industry, skill development, better irrigation facilities, good service in government hospitals, good cellphone networks across the state and agriculture.

The audience at the debate 

Anand Kumar (for)

Politicians have embarked on a door-to-door dastak (knock) programme to seek votes but it would have been better if a campaign had been launched to provide better education and healthcare.

The other day, a particular political party rolled out 160 raths (chariots) eyeing the year-end assembly elections. it would have been better if 160 ambulances or education vans had been flagged off. people of the state have to figure out which politician would work for them. they also have to come out of the trend of voting on caste lines. i have full faith that the people of bihar would give up such practices and elect representatives who work for them.

Chirag Paswan (against)

We have to think why we are lagging behind in all fields. there is no dearth of leaders in bihar but they should have the right intention to work.

If lalu ji and nitishji have done something good and fruitful for the state, we should give them credit. but these leaders should at least do something good. why do people of the state have to go to other states in search of jobs and higher education? i have not heard anyone from mumbai coming to bihar in search of higher education or anyone living in delhi coming to bihar in search of jobs. in the past 60 years, our leaders have not done anything for the growth and development of the state. governance of bihar always hinged on caste lines. we have to come out of it. everyone should exercise their franchise on polling day and elect a good representative who seriously works for the growth and development of the state.

Girls click selfies at the debate 

Suraj Kumar (for)

Bihar needs renaissance.

I asked one my friends when i was here a few years ago whether bihar was really down or not. he told me "it is down and almost out". hope should not rest on hype. it should be based on data. many people go outside for education and coming back to the state is still a sign of failure. the reality has not changed much. several bureaucrats from bihar are posted in several states but bihar politicians have failed to bring the state on the resurgence path. households belonging to scheduled castes are still way behind in getting basic resources. just visit remote villages and you will find that resurgence is a distant dream. in the south, there is politics of development but in states like uttar pradesh and bihar, there is development of politics.

Rukmini Banerji (against)

I feel a lot of good work has taken place in the state, especially in the field of women's empowerment.

Bihar is developing. in 2005, bihar topped the list of girls out of school. but today, the scenario has changed. the number of girls leaving schools has come down. bihar is below the national average as far as girls leaving education is concerned. girls are in a position to match boys and the difference between girls and boys has gradually decreased. i must say that the situation of girls in education has improved in bihar. rajasthan, still on the top in the number of girls out of school, must learn something from bihar. development is a very serious issue. it is like a test match and needs patience.


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