New Delhi: The war of words over the Bihar package escalated on Wednesday with Union Minister Nitin Gadkari challenging Chief Minister Nitish Kumar for a debate after he had called the Rs 1.25 lakh cr sop as a "repackaging" of old schemes for electoral gains.
BJP pitted the Road Transport and Highways Minister to take on Kumar over his criticism of the package which the party hopes will be a game-changer in the assembly elections in which it is locked in a bitter fight with the Nitish-Lalu combine.
"It's unfortunate that a leader of Kumar's stature is speaking like this. His statements are born out of frustration as a certain defeat is staring at him and people are comparing the NDA's package with his government's failure.
"I challenge him for a televised debate for every project under the special package. We have prepared all the details under every scheme," he told a press conference.
On Kumar's criticism, he said the package contained new schemes and was aimed at fulfilling demands of the people of Bihar so that the state could be rid of "hunger, fear and crime" and become developed.
He described the package as "historic and unprecedented" in which his ministry has the biggest share with work worth more than Rs 56000 cr set to be executed by it.
"What Kumar is doing is nothing but misleading the people of Bihar. I ask him why could his government not execute projects worth Rs 40000 cr all these years? The Bihar government has put stumbling block in its path to development time and again. Narendra Modi government will fulfil 101 per cent of its promises," he said.
Earlier in the day, Kumar had said at least Rs 1.08 lakh crore or 87 per cent of the special package announced by Prime Minister Narendra Modi "with an intent to win Bihar elections" was a "mere repackaging of old schemes".