In a major pre-poll sop for Bihar, Prime Minister Narendra Modi today announced package of a whopping Rs 1.25 lakh crore, promising that the state will touch new heights of development if the BJP is voted to power.

Modi also hit out at Chief Minister Nitish Kumar for putting the prestige of Bihar at stake for his political gains by pleading with the previous UPA government for packages and getting only Rs 12000 crore.

“I am here today to fulfill my promise to you. I am announcing a package of Rs 1.25 lakh crore for Bihar. Now you give me your blessings to change the fate of Bihar... Only development will benefit the state and eradicate its poverty. Bihar will touch new heights of development,” he said at a government function where several projects were launched.

Modi also made it clear that the Rs 1.25 lakh crore package will be in addition to the ongoing development projects worth Rs 40657 cr, announced previously.

Amid high-stakes Assembly election, BJP is banking heavily on the Centre’s development package to wrest power from Kumar, its one time ally-turned-rival, who has now joined hands with Lalu Prasad’s RJD to take on the saffron combine.

Attacking Kumar for his claim that Bihar was no longer a ‘bimaru’ state as claimed by Modi in his previous rally in Bihar, Modi wondered why the chief minister had been seeking packages all the time.

“Our chief minister turned very angry and said who is Modi to call Bihar a ‘bimaru’ state. He said with authority that Bihar is no longer a bimaru state. If it is true, then I will be the happiest person. I welcome this.

“Tell me, if somebody is healthy, will he go to a doctor. If somebody’s stomach is full, will he go anywhere seeking food? I am surprised that on the one hand he says Bihar is not bimaru and on the other he keeps asking for something or the other. Let the people of Bihar decide,” Modi, accompanied by many Union Ministers, said.

Building up the tempo ahead of special package announcement, Modi cited the previous two packages of Rs 10,000 crore and Rs 12,000 crore given to the state in 2003 and 2013 and said the Kumar government could not utilise them properly.

Referring to his promise made during the Lok Sabha polls that Rs 50,000 cr package would be given to Bihar, Modi said he realised after coming to power that the amount was “nothing”.

The PM also compared the past assistance given by the then Atal Bihari Vajpayee NDA government and UPA government and told the Chief Minister that he should properly take note of his package announcement, “kaan theek rakh kar sun lijiye”.

Referring to Kumar’s split with BJP in 2013, he said the chief minister then went to ‘Delhi Durbar’ and pleaded that please give me something to keep my honour.

“For political benefits, he put at stake the prestige of Bihar,” Modi said, adding that Rs 12000 crore given by UPA was like giving a candy to a child who cries too much.

That package played with the self respect of Bihar, he maintained.

Invoking freedom fighter Babu Veer Kunwar Singh, who hailed from Arrah, and seeking Jayaprakash Narayan’s blessings, he went on to ask people, “Should it be Rs 50000 crore or more, Rs 60,000 cr, Rs 70,000 cr...,” he said as the crowd cheered and then stood up as he made the final announcement of Rs 1.25 lakh crore.

Wooing the electorate, he said people of Bihar were bestowed with “sharp intellect” and mentioned that Chanakya was born here.

He also spoke about the “comprehensive work” being done by his government, especially regarding skilling youth and training women, to develop the country and took a jibe at the previous dispensations, saying they had a “piecemeal” approach to progress.

Chief Minister Kumar, who had gone to receive the PM at Patna Airport, was not present at the Arrah function where the PM inaugurated & laid foundation stone of 11 National Highway projects of 700 kms at a capital cost of Rs 9700 crore.

Bihar Road Construction Department minister Rajiv Ranjan Singh Lallan was present on the dais.

The Prime Minister spoke about his trip to UAE and said the government there had promised investment of Rs 4.5 lakh crore in India.

“In coming days, skill development is going to change the future of Bihar. The Centre does not work by throwing crumbs and nor can the country be taken forward by throwing crumbs.

We don’t want to work in piecemeal,” he said and added that his government’s ‘Make in India’ and ‘Skill India’ initiatives complemented each other.

India, he said, cannot progress without growth in eastern states like Bihar, Odisha and West Bengal and his government was working towards their development.

Reaching out to dalits and backwards, he invoked the lifelong work of new Bihar governor Ram Nath Kovind who, Modi said, had spent his life for the development of dalits, backwards, extremenly backwards and the deprived.

Giving details of Rs 40,000 crore package announced earlier, he said Rs 8000 crore would be the unspent amount of the package given by the UPA government, Rs 12,000 crore worth road projects of National Highways and Rs 20,000 crore of the factory that would come at Banka district.

Seeking to highlight the approach of the Congress, which is now a part of secular alliance with JD(U) and RJD in Bihar poll, towards the state, Modi said “the UPA provided a chocolate to Bihar in the form of Rs 12,000 crore as given to a crying child to calm him.” The PM said he was criticised for not announcing a special package during his last visit to Bihar when the Parliament session was on.

Kumar has been attacking Modi on the issue of providing special package for Bihar.

Yesterday also he had said that he was waiting to see if the special package announced by PM has some new projects or “merely repackaging of old ones.”

The PM also criticised Kumar for failing to spend money provided on previous two packages.

“Its a ‘karwa satya’ (bitter truth) that out of Rs 10,000 crore special package given by Vajpayee government in 2003 the state could not spend Rs 1000 crore and in Rs 12,000 crore package of UPA government it could spend only Rs 4000 crore,” he said.

Earlier, in a bid to strike a rapport with the people, the PM opened his speech by greeting the people in Bhojpuri and remembered freedom fighter Kuer Singh, who hailed from Bhojpur district of Bihar.

The PM will address a rally at Saharsa later in the day.

A host of leaders, including Union ministers Nitin Gadkari, Ramvilas Paswan, Ravishankar Prasad, Radhamohan Singh, Rajiv Pratap Rudy besides, state BJP leader Sushil Kumar Modi, Upendra Kushwaha, Bihar Minister Rajiv Ranjan Singh Lallan and local MP R K Singh were among others present on the dais.