JP Nadda strikes ‘Sattu’ notes on Bihar poll trails

BJP chief JP Nadda in Bihar

Image credit X @JPNadda

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JP Nadda reminds Bihar of times when “people survived with Sattu once a day”

By Manish Anand

New Delhi, May 3: The Bhartiya Janata Party president JP Nadda yesterday addressed public meetings in Bihar. Nadda said he spent his childhood in Bihar, and recalled times when the people in the state survived “on one Sattu meal a day”.

“That was a time when the people in Bihar survived by taking a one-time meal of Sattu (Chana flour),” said Nadda.

The BJP chief credited Prime Minister Narendra Modi for freeing the people of Bihar from the ‘Sattu Age’. “Because of Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Anna Yojana (PMGKAY), 25 crore people have come out of the poverty line in the country and they have gone into the ‘Amiri Rekha’,” said Nadda.

The BJP chief stated that 8,70,00,000 people in Bihar are benefiting from the free grain scheme of the Prime Minister.

‘Sattu’ is a staple food of Bihar. It’s consumed by all sections of the society in Bihar, and not only by labourers, farmers or tillers. Even students who study for UPSC examinations, competitive examinations, and office goers repose faith in Sattu for quick filler and protein.

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Prime Minister Narendra Modi had especially gone to Hunar Haat in New Delhi to announce his warm up for the Bihar Assembly elections in 2020 by partaking ‘Sattu’ delicacies. He dipped his fingers to ‘Litti Chokha’.

‘Sattu’ is now the identity of Bihar. Even abroad, the people from Bihar makes efforts to stock up the precious kitchen possession.

But Nadda spoke of ‘Sattu’ in a way as if it was a marker for extreme poverty, that the people had no choice but to consume it to survive, else they would have starved.

Nadda is in his late 50s and he has spoken about his childhood. That means, Nadda must have spoken about the time frame 40 years ago, the 1980s. There was no food grain scheme as per the National Food Security Act or PMGKAY. The PDS scheme used to run in those times.

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Now or for the past four decades, the people in Bihar have never shown worries for foodgrains. They are more concerned about the issues such as migration because of the lack of employment opportunities in Bihar and also higher education facilities that the state lacks in a big way and because of which several lakhs of students migrate to other states.

In fact Kota in Rajasthan is full of the students from Bihar, and kids of small and tender ages are going and spending time for coaching for IIT and other entrance examinations.

If we look at the property prices in Patna, Muzaffarpur, Bhagalpur, then they are comparable with property prices in Noida or even Delhi.

So, the issue in Bihar is about gross income inequality, and it is certainly not about surviving on Sattu.

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The people in Bihar badly need employment opportunities and they still remember the ways they had to walk several hundreds of kilometres after the outbreak of the corona pandemic, from Delhi, from Rajasthan, from several other states, after the railways shut down operations and the buses ceased to ply.

One brave girl took her father on a bicycle all the way from Gurgaon in Haryana to Darbhanga in Bihar.

So, the kind of migrations that the people of Bihar have seen in the last four decades cannot be undone by a scheme like PMGKAY.

The BJP has been a co-partner in power in Bihar for the last 20 years. In 2005, the BJP came to power in Bihar along with Nitish Kumar’s JD (U).

Yet, the BJP speaks of free grains as its economic template for Bihar. The BJP is yet to answer, why the people have to migrate from Bihar; why the people in Bihar don’t have local employment opportunities; why doesn’t investment come to Bihar; and why doesn’t infrastructure of Bihar develop in a manner that they are able to attract investments.

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Incidents of arsons and damages to public properties were mostly reported from Bihar against the Agniveer scheme, the contractual employments in the Indian Army.

Railway stations are flooded in Bihar when government holds examinations even for jobs. The youth in Bihar mostly aspire to become teachers amid drought of employment opportunities. To speak of ‘Sattu eating generations’ to Bihar may suggest that Nadda has forgotten his understanding of Bihar amid urgency to partake in power in the state.

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