New Delhi: Prime Minister Narendra Modi is expected to give a development and welfare push in Bihar and Madhya Pradesh on 11 and 12 September, before the Election Commission announces the dates for the respective assembly polls and bypolls. The announcement is expected after ‘pitri paksha’, considered inauspicious in Hinduism, ends on 17 September.
Once the EC announces the dates, the Model Code of Conduct comes into effect, under which no government is allowed to announce new schemes in these states.
On 11 September, PM Modi is expected to lay the foundation for eight mega rail and road infrastructure projects worth Rs 20,000 crore in Bihar via video conferencing. The next day, he is set to interact with beneficiaries of the street vendor scheme, which provides Rs 10,000 interest-free to start any business; inaugurate the Chambal Expressway and hand over 1.5 lakh housing units constructed under the Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana in MP.
The chief ministers of both states — Shivraj Singh Chouhan of the BJP in MP and BJP ally Nitish Kumar of the Janata Dal (United) in Bihar — are already on a last-minute announcement spree.
The BJP has also begun deploying central leaders to monitor the preparations — the party’s organisation secretary B.L. Santhosh reached Patna Sunday, while the Bihar election in-charge Devendra Fadnavis is expected to reach the city Wednesday.
Flurry of projects in Bihar
Among the projects PM Modi is set to inaugurate is the four-lane Gandhi Setu road project, which has cost Rs 2,956 crore. It will connect the northern part of the state with the central, and the three airports in Darbhanga, Gaya and Patna.
Modi will also lay the foundation for a rail project worth Rs 2,500 crore and a fishery project worth Rs 1,600 crore under the Matsya Sampada Yojana.
Also on the list are the Patna Ring Road project worth Rs 863 crore, the Arrah-Mohaniya road project worth Rs 1,231 crore, the Rajauli-Bakhtiyarpur project worth Rs 2,733 crore and the Narenpur-Purnia project worth Rs 1,324 crore.
Some new projects of the Patna Metro are also likely to be set in motion by PM Modi.
“The NDA government has expanded the road network in Bihar in an unprecedented manner. From 1950 to Lalu Prasad’s regime (until 2005), the total length of National Highways Authority of India roads in the state was just 1,981 km, but since then, we have added 2,461 km. In terms of double-lane highways, Bihar had just 168 km in 2005, but now, the figure is 4,429 km,” said BJP MLA Nitin Nabin.
“The PM will give the final push for a few projects, and he will share how the NDA government, despite the coronavirus pandemic, has worked tirelessly for migrants and poor sections of society,” he said.
CM Nitish Kumar, meanwhile, has inaugurated projects worth Rs 60,000 crore in the last three weeks, including those in the rural development, power and water resources sectors. A prominent project is to upgrade 3,304 panchayat schools to class 9, so that girl students don’t drop out after primary schooling.
Nitish has also announced his intention to bring water to every farm, after providing electricity.
A senior Bihar BJP leader, however, said that the PM’s announcement would be crucial, because his positive image could be a key factor in helping the NDA win.
“The PM’s positive image is more crucial for Nitish to win this election, so he will make an extra effort to campaign for Nitish,” the leader said.
Same case in MP
It’s a similar scenario in Madhya Pradesh, where the BJP has instructed all its MPs, MLAs and ministers to camp in the constituencies going to the bypolls to ensure victory.
A couple of days ago, CM Shivraj Singh Chouhan held a meeting with all MPs and ministers to set aside any differences they may have, and ensure victory in all 27 constituencies.
“Once the Election Commission announces the dates, PM Modi and Home Minister Amit Shah will take charge of campaigning, and all small issues will be sorted out. The top leadership is monitoring the preparations, and the CM interacts with the PM every week to apprise him of the situation,” said MP BJP spokesperson Govind Malu.
“After these inaugurations, more focused campaigning will start,” he added.
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