Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar on Monday highlighted efforts made by his government for the betterment of minorities, in an indirect rebuff to the opposition Mahagathbandhan which has been attacking him for realigning with the BJP.
People may try to create misperceptions but nobody can conceal the truth. Plenty of welfare schemes for the minorities have been launched during my stint in power. Madrasas have been given the same priority as government schools, he said.
Moulvis teaching at the Madrasas are getting emoluments at par with the recommendations of the Seventh Pay Commission., Meritorious students from these seminaries are being given scholarships upon scoring well in examinations like Vastaniya, Fokaniya and Molvi, Kumar underscored.
Our government has ensured that power, sanitation facilities and cooking gas reach each and every household irrespective of the social groups to which the inhabitants might belong, the chief minister asserted.
Women got respect under our regime. It was upon their demand that we imposed prohibition and the radical step has transformed the lives of many poor families, he claimed.
I have served the people for 13 years since I have been in power. Service has been my Dharma and I have been ceaselessly striving to ensure rule of law with social justice without neglecting any segment of the society. Please do vote for my party. Consider it as the mazdoori (wages) for my labour, Kumar said in an impassioned plea in support of his Kishanganj candidate Mahmood Ashraf.
Despite having come to power in 2005 as an ally of the BJP, Kumar had succeeded in winning over a section of the minorities who had previously been solidly behind his arch rival Lalu Prasads RJD.
He endeared himself to the minorities through measures like affirmative action for Pasmanda muslims, opening of an extension campus here of the Aligarh Muslim University for which he had to fight a long battle with the Congress-led government at the Centre and keeping pro-Hindutva elements in the state on a tight leash.
Though his party got drubbed in the Lok Sabha polls, the Mahagathbandhan which came into being after he joined hands with arch rival Lalu Prasads RJD received wholehearted support in the 2015 polls from the minorities who ignored competing claims on their votes by AIMIM headed by Asaduddin Owaisi besides Mulayam Singh Yadavs Samajwadi Party.
Upon his return to the NDA in 2017, Kumar has been facing accusations of capitulation before the BJP and, during the ongoing Lok Sabha polls he has been criticized for fielding only one Muslim in the 17 seats that the JD(U) is contesting in Bihar where the total number is 40.
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