Economic distress there but pan-India… not a poll issue; anger has subsided: Sanjay Kumar Jha

Economic distress there but pan-India… not a poll issue; anger has subsided: Sanjay Kumar Jha
A close Nitish Kumar aide, Minister Sanjay Kumar Jha tells The Indian Express the CM averted a much bigger depression , and says skill mapping will create jobs
Chief Minister Nitish Kumar has been at the helm for 15 years. The Opposition says there’s anti-incumbency. does one see it?
I don’t think so. Nitish Kumar has changed the narrative of Bihar politics… He raised expectations. Fifteen years may be a while . Some people might imagine that more work could are done but what we are seeing on the sector is different. If they think more should be done, they also believe that only Kumar can roll in the hay .
The JD(U) leaders, including the CM, often compare Bihar with what it had been during (RJD chief) Lalu Prasad’s regime (1990-2005). Isn’t this an admission that the last five years haven’t been good enough?
We say this because this wasn’t a field where you’ll come and begin batting. This was a hole. What had they (then RJD government) left within the state? Rampant corruption, a failed bureaucracy. The Central structure Department, which makes buildings in Delhi, wont to come here and build roads. No contractor would come, no businessman was left. a day there was kidnapping. you’ve got to ascertain from where Kumar started. Biharis wont to be a laughing stock… during a caste-based society just like the one in Bihar, if he didn’t have commitment, we might not be ready to build the Bihari pride.
But hasn’t Kumar created sub-castes and a loyal vote base for himself?
He is the primary CM within the country to offer 50% reservation to women in panchayats. Three elections have happened. ask the ladies mukhiyas and therefore the zila parishads. there’s now a women force in politics. Nobody thought what a lady in Bihar cares politics.
In the youth of the pandemic, Kumar had said that migrants shouldn’t return to Bihar. Was there anger against the government’s stand?
He never said, ‘Don’t come .’ He only said that the Centre has made guidelines that no movement should take place… When the pandemic hit, people thought Bihar would be worst affected. They thought the migrants would return and spread the virus in their villages… That narrative isn’t spoken of anymore. The recovery rate in Bihar is 94%. Testing is among the very best . The people broke the chain by staying in quarantine centres.
But what about the economic distress?
Abhijit Banerjee (Nobel laureate for economics) said if direct cash was transferred to people, and if they spent that cash , the economy will start moving. Kumar transferred
Rs 2,000 crore into people’s bank accounts in several forms. adulthood pension of three months was paid beforehand , Rs 1,000 was given to every migrant and money was allotted for scholarships for women . i’m not saying that the matter was solved. But he was aware that only he gives the cash , the economy will start moving… Yes, there’s economic distress but the whole country is facing it.
So, has the anger subsided?
Yes, the anger has subsided. We never had conducted skill mapping before. So, we now have data of all the people that stayed in quarantine centres. In places like Bettiah (Champaran), Supaul, Purnea, Darbhanga, people are making masks with Mithila paintings and selling them on Amazon and Flipkart….
A lot of migrants, who were facing economic difficulties, have now returned from where they came. If their earnings fell, will they still vote for the government?
Economic distress may be a pan-India problem. i will be able to not say that it doesn’t have an impression . But largely, the handling of Covid-19 in Bihar was done well. About 22 lakh migrants got Rs 1,000 each. People trust that when the CM talks about skilling, it’ll happen.
With the BJP seen as shoring the LJP in some quarters to push the JD(U) down, are party cadres finding it difficult to figure together on the ground?
Barring a couple of years, the BJP-JD(U) alliance has been there since 1996. The cadre, leaders and workers know one another alright . Whether it’s the Prime Minister, or Amit Shah (Union Home Minister), or the BJP party president (J P Nadda), they need all said that Nitish Kumar will lead the election campaign. Seat distribution is already completed and therefore the VIP (Vikassheel Insaan Party) and HAM (Hindustani Awam Morcha) are our allies. The people of Bihar will provides a decisive mandate… The Opposition isn’t serious.
What about (RJD leader) Tejashwi Yadav?
He wasn’t there during the floods or when there was an illness (the acute encephalitis syndrome outbreak in 2019) in Muzaffarpur. When the state faces major issues, he’s never there. That one among the brothers (Tej Pratap Yadav, Lalu Prasad’s elder son) has had to vary constituency shows that even their core vote is shifting.
Is the LJP’s action bothering the JD(U)? Which way are the Paswan votes going?
I don’t want to speak about caste. But i feel people in Bihar vote a method . Even in 2010 (Assembly polls), we (the JD-U and BJP) fought the election together and won 206 seats out of 243. That result’s a matter of record.

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