Hajipur, Mar 12: Prime Minister Narendra Modi today 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 a number of railway projects here.
"This project was initiated when Nitish Kumar was Railway Minister and Atal ji was Prime Minister. The dream of that time is being realised now.
"Had this not been neglected in last 10 years and work been taken up for it even under routine budget, even then it would have been completed in six-seven years," Modi said dedicating to the nation the newly constructed Digha-Sonepur rail-cum-road bridge here, which is stated to be the longest in the country.
He rued that the cost of the project escalated from its earlier estimate of Rs 600 crore to Rs 3,000 crore due to the "delay".
"This money belongs to people. Some or the other reasons crop up in our country that the process of development gets derailed," he said.
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.
Holding that the "nerve centre" of India's development lies in eastern India, the Prime Minister said that he is of the firm opinion that India as a country cannot develop fast without the development of it eastern part.
"Bihar is a priority for us because we feel Bihar's progress is key to India's progress. This government has spent more for the projects in Bihar in last two and half years than what was spent in five years earlier. This was done because it is my conviction that if India has to progress fast, Bihar's development has to be accelerated," he said.
Without naming Congress, Modi said that electricity has not reached 18,000 villages of the country even after 70 years of independence.
"I told my officers that I have to do this work within 1,000 days, which was not done in last 70 years. One thousand days are yet to completed but electricity has already reached in 6,000 villages.
Bihar and Uttar Pradesh are going to benefit the maximum from it," he said.