Soon after Nitish Kumar had dumped the Rashtriya Janata Dal-Congress alliance in Bihar over corruption allegations against his then partner Lalu Yadav and his family and joined hands with the BJP in 2017, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had visited the Patna University for its centenary celebrations.
The Bihar chief minister was hopeful that Patna University would be made a central university. But that never happened.
Cut to 2019, Congress chief Rahul Gandhi, at his rally in Patna today, announced that Patna University will be granted the status of central university if the Congress wins the upcoming national elections.
"People of Bihar are looking forward to PM Modi with hope that you will announce central university status to Patna University. Do this and you will be remembered for a 100 years," Nitish Kumar, with folded hands, had said.
However, PM Modi had downplayed his request saying measures like grant of central status were "a thing of the past" and his government would "provide an assistance of Rs 10,000 crore to 10 private universities and an equal number of government ones for a period of five years to make them world-class institutions".
According to Patna University officials, they are still waiting for any special financial assistance from the centre.
Lamenting that Bihar has become "a centre of unemployment" unlike the "centre of learning" in the ancient times, Mr Gandhi attacked PM Modi over lack of jobs in the state. He also pointed out that there are huge vacancies for teachers in the state that needed to be filled at the earliest. Examinations are not taking place on time at one of the premier institutes in the country, Mr Gandhi said.
"He (PM Modi) keeps talking but has not given education or jobs to the youth of Bihar. PM Modi has failed the youths of Bihar as he was unable to provide them jobs. When they go to BJP-ruled states like Maharashtra and Gujarat in search of livelihood, they face physical assault and insults," the Congress president said.
The demand for central university status has been raised time and again by Vice Chancellors of Patna University, politicians, faculty members and students in the past.
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