Patna/Chapra/Hajipur: Senior JD(U) leader Nitish Kumar on Saturday took potshots at Prime Minister Narendra Modi for "failing" to respect good work done by senior party leader Atal Bihari Vajpayee by not inaugurating the NTPC unit at Barh, foundation of which was laid by the veteran leader.
"It would have been better had Prime Minister inaugurated the unit of NTPC Barh which was dedicated to the country today to pay respect to good work done by the former PM...He must be knowing better the reason for not doing so," Kumar said addressing JD(U) workers meet at Chapra and later at Hajipur as part of his "Sampark Yatra."
Power Minister Piyush Goyal inaugurated the commercial launch of unit IV of the NTPC Barh Super Thermal Power Plant (STPP) and also declared commercial operation of 110-MW unit II of the Muzaffarpur Thermal power station (Stage I).
Chief Minister Jitan Ram Manjhi and a host of Union ministers hailing from Bihar were present on the occasion.
Kumar, whose name and photograph was missing at the inauguration function at Barh, attacked BJP for "trying to derive political benefits out of these power projects foundation of which was laid in 1999 by Atal Bihari Vajpayee".
"Big posters at inauguration venue are showing faces of a host of Union ministers who have no contribution in the project. But, person like me who worked tirelessly for it has been ignored," he said.
"I have the satisfaction that my efforts have bore fruits," he said.
"Hum to kaam karte hain aur naam ka lobh nahi karte hai (I belief in doing work and do not have greed for name)," he said at Chapra, the political bastion of RJD chief Lalu Prasad.
Meanwhile, omission of the name and photograph of former Chief Minister Nitish Kumar from the site of NTPC power plant at Barh triggered a war of words between rival parties.
Manjhi raised the issue in his speech at Barh and said "people feel sad when genuine efforts of a leader like Nitish Kumar is not acknowledged."
"Although nobody is taking his name, I do it to bring the truth of his hard work for Barh NTPC project," he said in presence of seven Union ministers hailing from Bihar who were seated on dais.
While photographs and names of Union Ministers Piyush Goyal, Ravishankar Prasad, Radhamohan Singh, Rajiv Pratap Rudy, Giriraj Singh, Ramkripal Yadav and others at the venue have been displayed, those of Nitish Kumar, who as a Lok Sabha MP from Barh and also later as Chief Minister made several efforts for the project, is missing.
Though Kumar was moderate in his criticism, JD(U) leaders used the opportunity to slam the BJP.
Urban Development Minister Samrat Chaudhary described the omission of Nitish Kumar's name as "unfortunate".
"This reflects the low level politics of BJP," Chaudhary said.
JD(U) spokesman and MLC Neeraj Kumar said BJP would not gain anything by displaying posters and banners as people of the region knows Kumar's role in bringing the NTPC unit at Barh.
But, BJP leaders brushed aside the criticism.
Leader of Opposition in Bihar Assembly Nand Kishore Yadav, who attended both the functions at Muzaffarpur and Barh, asked "is there any such practice?"
"If it is so why he who got a lot of projects sanctioned and completed as Road Construction Department minister in the NDA government was invited in the inauguration of these projects?" he said.
State BJP President Mangal Pandey said the foundation of the NTPC Barh unit was laid "by Vajpayeejee" which had been completed by present Prime Minister Narendra Modi."