The opposition Grand Alliance in Bihar on Friday mounted pressure on the state government to clear the decks for setting up of two central schools, an issue on which the Rashtriya Lok Samata Party chief Upendra Kushwaha has been observing fast unto death since Tuesday.
Kushwaha, while being rushed to the Patna Medical College Hospital (PMCH) in the afternoon following deterioration of health, asserted that he would continue his "aamaran anshan" even at the hospital.
Before being taken to the PMCH, Kushwaha met veteran RJD leader Sharad Yadav, Congress Rajya Sabha member Akhilesh Prasad Singh and Vikassheel Insaan Party president Mukesh Sahni - all of whom had visited the Miller High School ground to express their solidarity with the RLSP chief.
"There can be nothing more ridiculous than Nitish Kumar's stubborn refusal to allow the construction of the central schools. He is unable to understand that the Kendriya Vidyalayas are not about Kushwaha's political gains.
"It would greatly benefit the children of Bihar who are already suffering because of the poor education system in the state," Singh said.
Kushwaha enjoyed the support of all 12 crore residents of Bihar, the Rajya Sabha MP claimed.
"We are convincing Kushwaha to agree to hospitalisation. He is a diabetic and has contracted jaundice which could prove lethal in his condition. But it would have been nice had the state government shown the decency to agree to this legitimate demand.
"The issue is not going to die down. Kushwaha enjoys the support of all 12 crore residents of Bihar. If the chief minister does not relent, we may even plan 'chakka jam' and 'rail roko' in future," Singh told reporters.
Yadav said it was hard to understand the reason behind the state government's "childish insistence" on an undertaking from the Centre that the schools would admit more than 50 per cent students from within the state.
"Does the Bihar government not know that a majority of boys and girls in Kendriya Vidyalayas are locals? Only a handful of children whose parents may be in central government services and posted out of home state happen to be outsiders," the RJD leader clarified.
Sahni said he had been supporting Kushwaha's stir from the very beginning.
"I had promised that I would join him in the fast- unto-death protest if demands were not met by November 29. The deadline has lapsed and I am here to act on my promise. As long as he chooses to continue with his fast, I will do likewise," he insisted.
Kushwaha had been seeking clearance for Kendriya Vidyalayas at Aurangabad district - part of which falls under the Karakat Lok Sabha seat he previously represented but lost this year - and Nawada, which was earlier held by Union minister Giriraj Singh.
The state government had contented that it would provide land "free of cost" for the schools if the Centre agreed to its demand or price be paid to purchase the plots.
Disputing the contention, Kushwaha said the "mahant" of a local monastery had already donated land for the purpose.
Meanwhile, several RLSP supporters gheraoed the residence of state Education Minister Krishna Nandan Prasad Verma, who had held a press conference and accused Kushwaha of enacting a "political drama".
RLSP supporters blackened the name plate affixed on the residence of Verma and raised slogans against him before being whisked away by policemen.
The Nitish Kumar government is causing obstruction as it wants neither Kushwaha nor even the BJP - which rules the Centre and is an alliance partner in the state - to get credit for anything worthwhile happening in the state," RLSP national secretary general Madhaw Anand said.
(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)