Rahul Gandhi questions Bihar CM's secular credentials

New Delhi, Oct 14 (ANI): Congress General Secretary Rahul Gandhi questioned the secular credentials of Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar on Thursday, asserting that he cannot claim the high ground after having partnerships with leaders and organisations following 'divisive' ideology.

"What is this? You have partnership (with Bharatiya Janata Party) and still afraid of a leader's visit, said Gandhi during his election rallies at Kodha and Sikti ahead of the Bihar Assembly polls.

"How could Nitish Kumar claim he has secular credentials when he had partnership with leaders and organisations following 'divisive' ideology," he asked referring to Kumar's opposition to Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi campaigning for the upcoming Assembly polls in Bihar.

Rahul Gandhi said the Congress wanted to put an end to divisive politics in the State.

"We are opposed to such partnership. We want justice and development for all, the poor and the rich, Hindus, Muslims, Sikhs and Christians," said Gandhi charging the Janata Dal-United (JD-U)- BJP and Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD)- Lok Janashakti Party (LJP) alliances of using religion and caste for political gains.

A confident Gandhi further said the Congress party is above that brand of politics and so has decided to contest all the 243 assembly seats in Bihar on its own.

"We know that we will initially have difficulty. It will take time, but we will continue the struggle for the development of the state and for a government with greater participation of youths," he said.

Rahul Gandhi alleged that despite the Central Government providing assistance of Rs one lakh crore to the State, the benefits of central schemes like the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme were not reaching those for whom they were intended in Bihar due to the extensive corruption.

"It is unfortunate that benefits of schemes like Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MNREGA) and Rajiv Gandhi Gramin Vidyutikaran Yojana (RGGVY) have failed to percolate to the poor and needy because of rampant corruption in their implementation," said Gandhi.

"Congress Governments have done a lot for development in States where the party was ruling compared to States ruled by the National Democratic Alliance (NDA), he added.

The six-phase poll for 243 seats in Bihar begins from October 21 and concludes on November 20.

The RJD will contest from 168 seats, while its alliance partner LJP will field its candidates in 68 seats.

Candidates can withdraw their nomination papers till October 18.

Counting of votes will take place on November 24.

Bihar has over 5.5 crore voters, who will exercise their franchise through Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs). (ANI)

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