Thursday, January 21, 2010

Nalin Verma : Nitish smart steps to tackle attacks

Patna, Jan. 20: In election year, Nitish Kumar has adopted a different, yet pragmatic, approach to counter attacks by the Opposition and dissidents within the party.

Whenever he is the target of political attacks, Nitish spends time with his people away from Patna.

Yesterday, when JD(U) dissidents, led by Prabhunath Singh, were protesting against Nitish’s alleged apathy towards upper caste Rajputs, the chief minister was away amid the very same people in north Bihar’s Vaishali.

If sources close to Nitish are to be believed, he will be away in some other part of the state when Lalu Prasad’s RJD observes a Bihar bandh against price rise and corruption on January 28.

In fact, the chief minister has planned visits in different districts in the run-up to the Assembly polls due later this year. “It is Nitish’s way of countering his opponents,” state JD(U) chief Lallan Singh said.

Nitish returned here last night after spending four days in different parts of Vaishali district. “In a way, he has launched the election campaign silently and smartly, well in advance. He will offer people whatever he wishes to, as the model code of conduct is still far away,” said a JD(U) leader.

Nitish, too, made it clear that he would not take much notice of his opponents’ activities in Patna and would rather concentrate on the issues besetting the people at the grassroots level.

Typical to his style, he did not utter a single word either about the dissident activities or RJD-LJP’s agitation. Rather, he concentrated more on the Rs 431-crore development programme that he started in Vaishali. “The Centre should carry out fresh excavation in Vaishali,” he said, adding: “It will bring to the fore many historical realities.”

Emboldened at the three-fold rise in the number of foreign tourists in the state in the past four years, Nitish said: “Bihar sites have more potential than other states to draw tourists and pilgrims from across the world for it has been the land of Gautam Buddha and Mahaveer.”

On the RJD-LJP’s scheduled agitation and rebellion by Prabunath, he said: “My government is doing the work it is supposed to do for the people. Let the opponents do their work. The people will eventually judge our actions.”