Kumar was on a tour of Bhitiharwa in West Champaran district, a place associated with Mahatma Gandhi's Champaran Satyagrah, the centenary of which is celebrated this year.
Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar today lost his cool when a group of women contractual employees of the health department interrupted his speech and loudly raised their demand that their jobs be regularised. Kumar was on a tour of Bhitiharwa in West Champaran district, a place associated with Mahatma Gandhi’s Champaran Satyagrah, the centenary of which is celebrated this year. As Kumar began his speech, recalling the Mahatma’s valiant fight for the rights of indigo planters and measures taken by his government to apprise the youth about Gandhi’s life and teachings, he was interrupted by a group of auxiliary nurse midwives in the health department who raised slogans. “Have you people got no shame. You are interrupting an event organised on the occasion of the centenary of Champaran Satyagrah. If you have any legitimate demand you could have met me after the event,” Kumar told the protesters. “I am sorry to see such a behaviour from women. Who has worked more than I have for the empowerment of women. Your slogan shouting will divert the media’s attention from the event and only the ruckus will be talked about,” he said.
Contractual ANM workers across Bihar have been agitating for some time demanding that their job is regularised. Later, resuming his speech, the chief minister said prohibition imposed by his government in Bihar was “the greatest homage one could have paid to Mahatma Gandhi”. “Barring a few, most are happy with the ban on alcohol. Even the Supreme Court has made it clear that consumption and sale of alcohol are not fundamental rights,” he said. Referring to recent hooch tragedies in Bihar, he exhorted women: “It is on your demand that we took the bold step of total prohibition. Now you must not sit idle. Remain alert.” He also said that his government was now targeting social evils like dowry and child marriage and “we will form a human chain on January 21 next year to spread awareness against dowry, child marriage and alcohol consumption”.
The chief minister also announced thaty he “will review the progress made in the programmes launched under ‘saat nishchay’ (seven resolves) by the government by undertaking a state-wide tour next month. The tour will start in Champaran.”