Nitish Visits School Started by Gandhi; Loses Cool at Protestors

Chief Minister Nitish Kumar speaking at a public function in Champaran on Monday.

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West Champaran: Chief Minister Nitish Kumar on Monday visited a school in Bhitiharwa in West Champaran district to review development works undertaken by the state government to mark the 100th anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi's Champaran Satyagraha against the British Raj.

The school is one of the six schools in East and West Champaran started by Mahatma Gandhi.

"We remain committed to revive all six schools that were started by Gandhi ji in this area. These schools will be developed as model schools where young children will be offered the best in education and social development," the Chief Minister said.

Kumar, who puts high importance to 'yatras', or political tours, as a tool to raise his socialist credential, said he would embark on yet another 'yatra' in December from Champaran to review development works in the region.

While visiting the commune established by Gandhi in 1917 in Champaran, the Chief Minister announced setting up of Gandhi's life-size statues across the district to honor the Father of the Nation. Furthermore, a two-storied building in Bhitiharwa, and a Gandhi-themed park in Chandrahiya would also be developed in the area, he said.

A normally calm and level-headed Kumar, however, lost his cool when, during his speech, he was heckled by a group of temporary nurses and midwives who were demanding permanent status, a promise so far not kept by the Chief Minister.

Angered by repeated interruptions, Kumar shot back at them saying their behavior was very un-lady-like and they should be ashamed of themselves.

"Don't you people have any shame. This event is about Champaran Satyagraha and about the Father of the Nation. This is no place to raise your demand. If you had any sense, you would have met with me after this function and talked to me about your demands. I am disappointed to see you behave like this particularly in view of the fact that I have been a relentless champion of your causes and have worked tirelessly for women empowerment. Such behavior is beneath your status," a flustered Chief Minister said.

Kumar once again defended his decision to impose prohibition in Bihar saying except for a few, most people were very happy with the alcohol ban in the state and even the Supreme Court had decreed that drinking or selling alcohol was not one of the fundamental rights of the people.

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