Lahore: He is the Chief Minister of Bihar, and according to many, a very serious contender to the Prime Minister’s position after the next election. So it is important to listen to him when he speaks, and also, to track him where he goes. Kumar was in Pakistan this week, advocating a mutually beneficial peaceful coexistence. He said India and Pakistan should jointly combat hunger and poverty rather than fighting each other.
On his first visit to Pakistan, Kumar said he would always measure his trip to this country in terms of the enormous love he has received from the people.
“The amount of love I have received from the people here can’t be artificial. In Lahore, I don’t feel I am in an alien land,” Kumar said while addressing a gathering at the Government College University.
“It’s a good beginning as earlier parliament delegations only came to the national capitals. We have a similar history and we must move forward. Instead of fighting with each other, we should jointly fight hunger and poverty,” he said.
Kumar, unlike Punjab CM Shahbaz Sharif, preferred to make his speech in Hindi.
He said it was an honour for him to address the old students of the GCU, which was the embodiment of Lahore.
Highlighting different measures his government adopted to improve law and order, education, healthcare and agriculture in Bihar, Kumar said the dropout rate had been reduced to two per cent from 12.5% in 2005.
Enhancing enrollment in schools should not be the only target, he said. “In 2007, there were not many girl students in Bihar’s schools when he introduced a cycle scheme. Instead of providing them with bicycles, we gave them cash to buy one of their own choice and today the number of school-going girls has swelled to 650,000,” he said.