Patna: Prime Minister Narendra Modi said on Saturday he will fulfil his promise on a special package for development in poll-bound Bihar, stressing politics should not put brakes on welfare schemes.
"Before the Lok Sabha polls, I promised Rs 50,000 crore for Bihar (if elected)...I will fulfil my promise and announce the package at the right time. And I will go beyond what was promised," the PM said at an event in Patna where he inaugurated a slew of schemes and shared the stage with chief minister Nitish Kumar.
Modi, who was in the state to kick-start the NDA's campaign for the assembly elections later this year, set the ball rolling at the event by flagging off a railway line, a Patna-Mumbai AC Express, an IIT in the state capital and an incubation centre, among other schemes.
The PM and his political rival Kumar showed warmth on stage in front of a big crowd, greeting each other with smiles.
Notwithstanding the bonhomie, Kumar tweeted in the morning: "We’re grateful after 14 months Modiji finds time to visit Bihar. As we get ready to hear more promises what about his old ones?"
The Bihar CM posted seven "critical issues". The list included Modi's Lok Sabha poll promise on Bihar's special status and bringing back black money stashed abroad.
At the Patna event, Modi responded, with Kumar sitting beside him. "The development of states is necessary for the development of the country," the PM said, "The time is over when (welfare) schemes were developed in Delhi. Now those decisions need to be molded by the states' requirements."
Responding to Kumar's request to expedite schemes that are pending with the central government, Modi said: "I agree with Nitishji. Projects that started ages ago have been delayed...because the government changed after Atalji's (Atal Bihari Vajpayee) government."
The NDA in Bihar is pitted against a combination of Nitish Kumar's JD(U), Lalu Prasad's RJD and the Congress. Other parties of the Janata Parivar and the Aam Aadmi Party are backing them.
Kumar's JD(U) and the BJP were alliance partners for 15 years till they split ahead of the Lok Sabha elections over the projection of Modi as the NDA's prime ministerial candidate.