- Radha Mohan Singh had slammed the previous Bihar government
- Some in JDU saw it as an attempt to slight Nitish Kumar
- Nitish Kumar turned around Bihar's law and order situation: Sushil Modi
On a visit to the state yesterday, the Union Agriculture Minister had gone on an overdrive to give the BJP credit for raising the governance standard in the state and ended up, rubbing his alliance partner the wrong way.
"For the last three and half years, either the projects in the agriculture department were slow or had stopped," the Union Minister told a meeting of the BJP's farmers' wing in Bihar capital Patna.
The union minister did credit Chief Minister Kumar for "trying" to do something good in the farm sector but made it clear that he had not been very successful. On the face of it, Mr Singh's target was Lalu Yadav's party which had the agriculture portfolio till Nitish Kumar swapped his alliance partners. But it also implied that the Chief Minister wasn't as good an administrator that he was made out to be.
It is a narrative that has been central to the BJP's narrative in Bihar for some years.
Like when two engineers were killed soon after the Nitish Kumar-Lalu Yadav alliance government came to power in 2015, another Union Minister Giriraj Singh had called it the return of "jungle raj" (lawlessness) that the BJP had warned voters about.
Mr Modi is reported to have attempted a course correction when he made no such distinctions at the Kolkata meet on information technology.
"Pre-2005, Bihar was known for negative things. In the last 12 years after Nitish Kumar became chief minister law and order situation has changed completely", Sushil Modi said, showering lavish praise at Nitish Kumar's handling of law and order. Barring for a brief period of less than an year when Mr Kumar had stepped down after the debacle in 2014 Lok Sabha elections and nominated Jitan Ram Manjhi to the Chair, Mr Kumar has been Bihar's Chief Minister.
Sushil Modi, who became the deputy chief minister once again in the NDA coalition alliance, said "Bihar had been free from kidnapping". There was hardly any kidnapping takes place in Bihar now, he said to drive home the point.
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