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Nitish wows diaspora, says 'hum kisi se kam nahin'

Hyderabad, January 8, 2005

Sajjan Singh Thakur

Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi may have been the darling of NRI investors, but his Bihar counterpart Nitish Kumar was no less.

He stole the heart of the Diaspora at the International Convention Centre, during an interactive session with states at the second day of Pravasi Bharatiya Divas 2006.

Nitish, the understated-self that he is, with his impeccable Hindi and incredibly frank admission of Bihar's backwardness, "a legacy he got", won the hearts of many.

And yet, he was never short of confidence that he would turn Bihar "into a beautiful state once investments start pouring".

Even as Modi told Nitish, "Aapka Bihar pavillion beautiful hai", the latter hastened to add, "Abhi pavillion beautiful hai, baad mein state beautiful hoga" (Right now the pavillion is beautiful, later on the state will be beautiful too).

Ask Amar Dixit, a young NRI pursuing major at Johns Hopkins University. "I think this man (Nitish) was at his candid best. What impressed me most was his Hindi. Seventy per cent of the delegates love Hindi and all of them, I think, loved to hear him especially after the Lalu era is gone."

People outside India want to see the development of Bihar and India as a whole, he avers.

In a short speech, laced with wit and humour, Nitish appealed to all overseas Indians and NRIs to make Bihar a developed state, and invest in industries, IT-tourism sectors, sugar mills, agro-procession units and educational institutions where students from outside "would come to study", just like the "glorious days of Nalanda-Vikramshila University".

Quoting President APJ Abdul Kalam, "If India is to succeed, Bihar must prosper," Nitish pleaded to the Diaspora to make use of "our biggest capital - human resources - so that after some years we Biharis can also say, 'Hum kisi se kam nahi'."

FICCI's survey, presented at the session, putting Bihar at the lowest ladder of the development (Gujarat was in the elite group) may have weighed heavily on the state CM, but he put up a brave front, saying, "Humein Bihar vikas ka janadesh mila hai" (We have got people's verdict to develop Bihar).

"We will not disappoint you, we have already initiated measured to control law and order and improve state infrastructure, come lend us your helping hand to realise our dream to restore Bihar its lost glory, he told the NRIs.

Only if his PR men were a little smarter in showcasing Bihar, at a separate press briefing later, things could be different. Alas that would be asking for the moon!

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