Give Congress a chance, PM says in Bihar


Patna : Prime Minister Manmohan Singh Saturday said the Bihar government had not implemented centrally-funded development schemes meant for the common man. He appealed to the voters to give Congress a chance after two decades of non-Congress rule.

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“Due to neglect and apathy of the Bihar government, centrally-funded welfare and development schemes failed in the state as the benefit hardly reached the common man,” Singh told an election rally in the Narpatganj assembly constituency in Araria district.

The prime minister began a day-long campaign Saturday for the October-November Bihar elections, asserting that the Congress was working for the common man and was committed to the development of Bihar.

He appealed to the voters to give a chance to the Congress this time to form a new government for the development of the state.

“In the last 20 years, voters have given chance to non-Congress parties to form government. This time, give chance to the Congress for the development of Bihar,” Singh said.

“I appeal to you all to vote for the Congress, which is an ‘aam admi’ (common man’s)party,” he added.

The prime minister said funds provided by the central government to the state were not utilised properly.

“The Bihar government has failed to spend funds properly which resulted in lack of progress and development,” he said.

Singh refuted Chief Minister Nitish Kumar’s charges of step-motherly treatment to Bihar.

“The UPA (United Progressive Alliance) government has provided adequate funds to speed up the development of Bihar,” he said.

The central government has provided a special package of Rs.1,000 crore per year to Bihar for its development needs, the prime minister said.

“We had provided Rs.6,000 crore in the last six years for improving irrigation, health, education and other facilities for the poor,” he added.

He said the state government was not spending the central funds. “It has tried to misguide the people by naming centrally-funded schemes as its own schemes,” he said.

Singh said the people’s votes will decide who will form the next government and rule Bihar.

“Decide to vote after much thought to the party that works for the betterment of life of the common men, farmers, minorities, SC/STs (Scheduled Castes/Scheduled Tribes) and poorest of the poor. The Congress is the only party that works for the common man,” he said.

The prime minister said that 63 years after independence, Araria and its adjoining districts remain one of the backward regions in the country with more than 50 percent people living below poverty line and without basic facilities.

“Araria is one of the 90 districts selected for implementation of special schemes for empowerment and development of minorities. But the benefit of schemes hardly reach the people and funds are not utilised,” he said.

Singh asked the people as to why Bihar is lagging behind when India is moving ahead. He blamed successive state governments in the last two decades for Bihar’s backwardness.

Bihar goes to polls in five phases Oct 21-Nov 20 to elect a 243-seat assembly.