Week 1: Ni­tish Putting Vikas Back On Track Sus­tained En­gage­ment

CM spend­ing 16 to 18 hours daily on ‘re­ju­ve­nat­ing’ old schemes and projects

The Economic Times - - Pure Politics - Mad­hu­parna Das & San­jay Singh

BI­HAR CM

Patna: The first week of Ni­tish Ku­mar in of­fice with his new al­liance part­ner un­der­lines some of the thrust ar­eas of a new jour­ney. The Bi­har chief min­is­ter has al­ready started mak­ing ef­forts to reap max­i­mum ben­e­fits of his im­proved re­la­tion with the Cen­tre.

As the ini­tial dust set­tles over an ac­ri­mo­nious split the Rashtriya Janata Dal, there is a grow­ing sense of ap­proval among Bi­har’s aam admi, po­lit­i­cal cir­cles, bu­reau­cracy as well as in­de­pen­dent ob­servers about Ni­tish’s de­ci­sion to dump the Ma­ha­gath­band­han and join hands with the BJP. Though there is also a view that he has been “op­por­tunis­tic”, a stronger un­der­cur­rent runs across Bi­har about the “sac­ri­fices” he has made by giv­ing up the im­age as a strong po­lit­i­cal con­tender at the na­tional level to fo­cus on the state’s de­vel­op­ment.

In the first five days in of­fice, Ni­tish called two cab­i­net meet­ings, al­most a dozen re­view meet­ings and made a num­ber of de­ci­sions un­der­ly­ing his pri­or­i­ties — the first and fore­most be­ing his agenda of ‘vikas’ for Bi­har. It is also one that is more in con­so­nance with Naren­dra Modi’s slo­gan and Ni­tish has to prove that the ear­lier com­bi­na­tion was more of an im­ped­i­ment­thana­boost­fortheagenda­tobe trans­lated in to ac­tions.

He is al­ready do­ing that. The CM spent 16 to 18 hours on each of the past five days, work­ing out plans to “re­ju­ve­nate” old schemes and projects, gear up the bu­reau­cracy and

has al­ready started mak­ing ef­forts to reap max­i­mum ben­e­fits of his im­proved re­la­tion with the Cen­tre

mes­sage that de­vel­op­ment got de­railed dur­ing the ear­lier regime and he wanted to put it back on the fast track

grip on the ad­min­is­tra­tion, Ni­tish has shifted 28 IAS and 42 IPS of­fi­cers and named six new district mag­is­trates ef­fec­tive­ly­im­ple­men­tGST.In­that,he is con­vey­ing the mes­sage that the idea of vikas was got de­railed dur­ing theear­lier­regime­andthathe­wanted to put it back on a fast track. The di­min­ish­ing crowd and fad­ing voice of protests from the RJD show how the bal­ance is swing­ing fast in his favour.

Col­lapse of gov­er­nance, se­nior of­fi­cials and ob­servers said, was an equally im­por­tant rea­son as cor­rup­tion that forced Ni­tish to find a way out of the RJD. “The RJD min­is­ters made a mock­eryof gov­er­nance…Sev­er­al­pro­jects and schemes were stalled. There was no trans­fer-post­ing hap­pen­ing. Lalu’s hench­man Sa­habud­din re­turned and in­sulted the CM,” said Shaibal Gupta, the founder mem­ber­sec­re­tary of the Asian De­vel­op­ment Re­search In­sti­tute in Patna. “He sac­ri­ficed his na­tional im­age and be­came a pro­vin­cial leader for the sake of Bi­har,” said Gupta, who is known to be very close to the CM.

In the past week, Ni­tish has given top pri­or­ity also to tighten his grip over the ad­min­is­tra­tion and en­sure the ben­e­fits of his schemes are de­liv­ered to the ground level. He has shifted 28 IAS and 42 IPS of­fi­cers. Six districts got new district mag­is­trates.

“It al­most took full 20-month to see him in his nat­u­ral form as an ad­min­is­tra­tor. Dur­ing his stay in grand al­liance, he was en­gaged more in his po­lit­i­cal tasks than the ad­min­is­tra­tive works,” a source in the gov­ern­ment said.

His cab­i­net col­leagues from the BJP said the CM is busy fix­ing the prob­lems in gov­er­nance.

Of the 12 BJP cab­i­net min­is­ters in Bi­har, at least eight are fresh faces. “We all are try­ing to put the gov­ern­ment on track. It was com­pletely out of gear. The CM has called for a spe­cial ses­sion. He will an­nounce some ma­jor de­ci­sions, too,” said PWD min­is­ter Nand Kishore Ya­dav. the al­liance with

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