Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar will face a big challenge in the forthcoming 2010 Bihar Assembly Elections, namely attempting to win the votes of the public to retain his post. Nitish Kumar is no newcomer to challenges, having very ably faced the biggest challenge of all – trying to improve the general state of things in a State that has long been considered "backward" in all aspects, whether it is education, economy, health or infrastructure.
Nitish Kumar Education Political Career
Nitish Kumar is no stranger to politics either. His father Kaviraj Ram Lakhan Singh was a freedom fighter and in the 1970s Nitish Kumar was a member of Jayprakash Narayan's movement. Nitish Kumar earned his B.Sc. Engineering degree from the Bihar College of Engineering, Patna. In 1985 Nitish Kumar entered the elections fray as an independent candidate and was elected as a member of the Bihar Legislative Assembly. In subsequent years, he moved from one prominent position to another, first as President of the Yuva Lok Dal and then as Secretary-General of the Lok Dal in Bihar. He also got a Lok Sabha seat and was appointed as Minister of Railways. Under this tenure as Minister, the Railways made a good profit. Nitish Kumar has also served as a Union Minister in two different fields – Agriculture and Railways in different ruling Central Governments.
Nitish Kumar was to eventually become Chief Minister of Bihar, but the first time round it was for a very brief period before taking the full tenure in 2005 when he victoriously lead the National Democratic Alliance to success in the 2005 Bihar Assembly Elections. It was to be a significant victory, as it brought down the long-standing 15 year Government of Lalu Prasad Yadav of the RJD party.
Nitish Kumar Government Schemes Reforms Programs
Once Jharkhand was created as a separate State from Bihar, Nitish Kumar went full steam ahead to remove the 'backward' tag of Bihar. During his five year tenure as Chief Minister of Bihar, Nitish Kumar has relentless pursued an agenda to not just develop Bihar but create the State's own unique identity.
Two of Nitish Kumar's best schemes have been the provision of cycles for girls so that they can travel to their educational institutes easily, and the social welfare schemes, such as providing scholarships for Muslims. Reservations have been made, too, both at the Panchayati Raj level and in the jobs sector, for Muslims, Mahadalits and the Extremely Backward Castes.
In the medical field, doctors have been dispatched to serve in primary health centers and in the education field thousands of teachers have been appointed for schools across the State. Infrastructure has improved during the tenure of Nitish Kumar as Chief Minister, with new roads and bridges coming up. The crime rates in Bihar too came down during this time.
What's more, Nitish Kumar received a lot of acclaim for re-opening the Bhagalpur riot cases and ensuring that the accused were punished (the same accused who during the previous Govt's rule had gone scot free), also giving compensation to the Muslim victims of the riots.
Yet another important step taken by the Nitish Kumar Govt. was to aggressively campaign for eradication of polio. It was very successful, so much so that last year Rotary Internationals awarded Nitish Kumar with the 'Polio Eradication Championship Award'.
Looking at the other side of the coin – the weaknesses – one of the main setbacks of Nitish Kumar's governance has been his inability to implement much-needed employment schemes. Then there is the massive power shortage in the State which has not been rectified.
Nitish Kumar Family
On the personal front, Nitish Kumar is regarded as a humble gentleman, with no vices. He does not drink or smoke and has simple meals. His wife Manju Kumari Sinha, a teacher by profession, passed away 3 years ago. The couple have a son Nishant Kumar, who graduated from BIT, Mesra.
Nitish Kumar's Prospects for 2010 Bihar Assembly Elections
Naturally, for the forthcoming Bihar Assembly Elections, during campaigns for votes, the Nitish Kumar Government will play down the weaknesses and setbacks and harp on the improved governance. For that governance, Nitish Kumar has even bagged a few awards, including the Economics Times 'Reformer of the Year 2009' award and NDTV 'Indian of the Year 2008' award. He was also voted the Best Chief Minister in the 2007 State of the Nation poll conducted by CNN-IBN and Hindustan Times.
With all those awards and reforms for the benefit of Bihar, the Bakhtiarpur-born native will surely hope the voters will give him a second term in office.
Check out an Analysis of the forthcoming Bihar Assembly Elections: Who will Win Bihar Assembly Elections 2010
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