Patna: RJD chief Lalu Prasad on Wednesday attacked Prime Minister Narendra Modi, terming him a “liar” who had promised Bihar a “fakeage” not package, after an RTI query revealed that the bounty of Rs1.25 trillion (Dh69 billion) announced by Modi during a poll campaign for the October 2015 assembly elections was still awaited.
Bihar’s ruling Grand Alliance of Rashtriya Janata Dal, Janata Dal-United and Congress made the most of the revelation to target the Bharatiya Janata Party-led central government and the opposition BJP in the state.
The Grand Alliance leaders say this has also put a big question mark on the series of promises made by Modi and BJP during the ongoing assembly polls in neighbouring Uttar Pradesh.
Mumbai RTI activist Anil Galgali filed the query with the Union Finance Ministry in December 2016 seeking details of Modi’s assurances on massive financial aid or development packages to various states.
He also sought details of the action taken on the financial packages to various states.
However, Deputy Director in Finance Ministry Anand Parmar, while declining to provide a direct reply to the Right To Information query, made the position clear in a roundabout manner.
“About the Rs 125,003 crore [Rs1.25 trillion] special package for Bihar, announced by PM for August 18, 2015 Parmar’s terse reply said that ‘the projects/works will be completed in a phased manner’ though not a paisa has been released till date,” Galgali said.
“It is a shame that assurances to Bihar given by none other than the country’s Prime Minister have failed with no action in the matter since one-and-half years,” Galgali said.
While Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar is yet to say anything on the matter, Lalu in his inimitable rustic style also advised Modi that a person sitting on the top constitutional post of Prime Minister should not “utter lies like this”.
Lalu in a tweet, with a photograph of Modi, posted: “The liar - a fakeage Sardar. He did not announce a package, only fakeage. Package.. package-fakeage.”
In another tweet, Lalu said “this PM has been chanting ‘Satyamev Jayate’, he should not tell lies. Inki baton par yakin karna khudkushi karne saman hai (believing in his words is like committing suicide),” he posted.
Lalu also said that Modi had promised to made Varanasi into Koyoto in the 2014 Lok Sabha polls but nearly three years later, he has been exposed and proved that his words and promises were a “bundle of lies”.
“Now PM Modi should explain to the people how he will do penance for his unfulfilled promises and his lies to the people. Whether he will do it in water cupped in his hands, the river Ganga or in the sea -- ‘Chullu bhar pani mein, Ganga maiya mein ya phir Samudra mein’.”
Senior JD-U leader and party spokesperson Neeraj Kumar said it has again vindicated our stand that special packages announced by Modi are merely a “jumla” nothing more. “Modi only announced a jumla to fool the people,” Kumar said.
Another senior JD-U leader, Shayam Razak, said the revelation through RTI has made it clear that announcement of a special package was meant only for votes like what Modi has done in campaigning for the assembly polls in Uttar Pradesh.
Congress state president Ashok Choudhary, also the Bihar Education Minister, said the Prime Minister should keep in mind to fulfill promises made to the people. “The Congress party had doubted Modi’s special package announcement for Bihar at the time. He has a habit to make promises, not to fulfill them,” he said.
BJP leaders in the state are reluctant to speak on the issue. Some of them downplayed the issue saying that only national leaders will be able to say anything on it.
BJP leaders had celebrated the announcement by Modi on the streets and praised him for it.
Galgali also said that the Bharatiya Janata Party has been making big announcements even for Uttar Pradesh, where the seventh and last phase of assembly elections are being held on Wednesday.
“So many ‘jumlas’ have been shown to the 125 crore Indian population by the ruling BJP. But, the government’s own figures belie their tall claims, so how can they be taken seriously,” Galgali wondered.