Hajipur: Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday trained his guns on Congress accusing it of "neglecting" Bihar's development since independence and recalled Chief Minister Nitish Kumar's past association with NDA as he inaugurated the newly constructed Digha-Sonepur rail-cum-road bridge here.
PM also said that the progress of Bihar is key to India's progress and added that the 'nerve centre' of India's development is in the eastern parts of the country.
After opening the line, PM addressed a public meet here and said, “Looking at the excitement of the people here, I can guess the importance of this bridge. This project was initiated when Nitish ji was Rail Minister and Atal ji was PM, & now it is being completed.”
— Ministry of Railways (@RailMinIndia) March 12, 2016
In a bid to regain his lost pride in Bihar after BJP's dismal performance in the Assembly polls, PM said, "The nerve centre of India's development is in eastern parts of the country. Bihar is a priority for us because we feel Bihar's progress is key to India's progress."
The Prime Minister also stated that India's sustainable development is important for the eastern parts of the country to develop.
"If it was not neglected for the last ten years, then it would have been completed in five-seven years. This project of Rs. 600 crore got delayed and due to this, the cost of the project went up to Rs. 3000 crore. We have to address the present needs of the people but at the same time we need to create long term systems," he added.
He further said, "Rail, roads and infrastructure has the strength to not only lay foundation for development but also accelerates growth."
Indicating Central government's support to the state for it's infrastructural support, PM said, "Hopeful that Centre & state government will work together, shoulder to shoulder to bring in development in Bihar."
"There has to be complete modernisation of the Railways. I assure you that in a very short time we will drastically transform the railways in all aspects. We need to give speed to our trains. We are trying to increase train speed uniformly across the country, PM added.
PM Modi shared the stage with his political arch rival and Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar, Union Railways Minister Suresh Prabhu, Union Minister Ram Vilas Paswan were also present at the occassion.
Leaving aside political rivalry, Modi who has shared a contentious relationship with Kumar in past, also chose the occasion to laud the Bihar Chief Minister's efforts in taking forward Centre's rural electrification scheme in Bihar.
"I am grateful to Nitish ji. Work is progressing with speed in Bihar due to his efforts. If the central government and the Bihar government decisively work, we can finish the work fast and make a proud Bihar," he said.
Kumar had walked out of NDA snapping the 17-year-old ties with BJP over the deemed projection of Modi as prime ministerial candidate of that party in June 2013.
After having lost badly to the Narendra Modi-led NDA in 2014 Lok Sabha polls, Kumar staged a comeback in 2015 assembly elections in Bihar in alliance with Lalu Prasad's RJD and Congress, decimating BJP.
Prime Minister arrived in Patna today on a day-long visit to Bihar. Apart from the rail-cum-road bridge at Patna, PM inaugurated Munger Rail-Cum Road Bridge from Sahebpur Kamal which ends in Begusarai district. He also laid the foundation of additional bridge at Mokama over the River Ganga.
"Total cost of these three bridges is about Rs 7200 crore and these bridges will go a long way in giving connectivity to north and south Bihar, said a senior Railway Ministry official adding "It will also help in development of North Bihar."
Earlier in the day, while speaking at the closing ceremony of centenary celebrations of Patna High Court, PM Modi sought suggestions on making the bar, bench and courts tech-savvy by injecting digital technology in their functioning.