Nitish Kumar, Bihar
Slumdog Millionaire: A Movie About My People Wikipedia: Nitish Kumar:The kind of win his Alliance registered during 2010 Bihar Assembly is viewed amongst the biggest ever election win by anyone in Indian elections, where the entire opposition was almost wiped off.... It is a status which currently only Nitish Kumar enjoys, something a rare feat in Indian politics where someone achieves respect and appreciation from opposition along with landslide public support from all sections of Society. Forbes India Person Of The Year:Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar has turned the fortunes of the state around since he came to power in 2005. He has come down hard on corruption, has improved infrastructure and infused new life into a creaking state machinery. ...... "The most obvious trait of Nitish Kumar in his younger days was the simple manner in which he lived, sharing a one-room shelter with a friend in Patna, and the amount of tireless groundwork he used to do in his constituency," says Amar Ujala executive editor Arvind Mohan, who has known Nitish from his days with Jayaprakash Narayan...... Bihar was virtually at the bottom of every development ranking until Nitish Kumar took charge in 2005..... The state's economy grew an average 11.35% each year between 2004 and 2009, compared with 3.5% in the prior five years. In the past five years, social spending in the state rose from 30.5% to 41% of overall expenditure. The administration built 2,400 km of roads the last year alone, compared with just 415 km in 2004....... In order to make it clear that he meant business, Nitish Kumar first cranked up the criminal justice system. According to one bureaucrat, it took only a one-line administrative order which said that every FIR had to result in a charge sheet within 90 days and the police officer had to appear before court whenever asked to. The result: 54,000 criminals convicted in the past five years. The number of murders reported has fallen by three percentage points between 2005 and 2008. ..... Kumar and Lalu Yadav started their political careers together during the Jayaprakash Narayan movement in 1973-74. While Yadav was known as the crowd-puller, Kumar was a deft communicator who could explain to outsiders what the movement was about. ...... Officials say that the financial turnaround during the Yadav years was possible only due to the substantial work in improvement of railway lines and time-keeping of passenger trains that was done during the Kumar regime. ........ "The turnaround of the Railways was actually set in motion by Nitish Kumar who carried out substantial asset replacement which helped the succeeding Lalu administration move more goods on the track,'' says R. Sivadasan, former member of the railway board....... While his work at the Railways went rather unnoticed, fame was awaiting him in Bihar. Kumar understood that development could be good politics too. Since Bihar was at the bottom of the pit, even small efforts would look dramatic and could be vote-catching. One of the significant decisions that Kumar took soon after coming to power in Bihar in 2005 was to reserve half of the seats in Panchayats for women.......... He faced a lot of revolt within the party on this. But he stood his ground ....... The most popular scheme devised by Nitish Kumar targeted girls. The Mukhyamantri Balika Cycle Yojana helped over eight lakh girls buy cycles in the past four years. Under the scheme, the government handed out cheques to girl students studying in high school. The scheme was later extended to boys as well, and now according to government estimates, close to 12 lakh students have been gifted bicycles. ....... The move paid off handsomely during the recent polls when 10% more women turned up at polling booths. ...... A state commission constituted to identify sub-castes for targeting government help, recommended 21 out of 22 sub-castes to be classified as Mahadalits. The Dussadhs also known as Paswans, led by Ram Vilas Paswan, who form 31% of the 1.3 crore scheduled caste population in Bihar, were left out of that list. ........ His most formidable political achievement, however, was the manner in which he managed to wrest Muslim votes from Lalu Prasad Yadav. ....... The Pasmanda Muslims are considered to be lower caste and account for close to 80% of the Muslim vote in the state. ........ "Nitish took up our cause for Scheduled Caste status for Dalit Muslims and Dalit Christians in Parliament. He did this despite being supported by the Bharatiya Janata Party. In fact he was opposed by the BJP on the floor of the house. But he stood his ground," says Anwar. ....... The bearded Kumar made another politically sensitive move by expediting the inquiry into the Bhagalpur riots of 1989 which led to the conviction of 14 people in the case that involved the massacre of 116 people, including women and children. Many of the accused in the case belonged to the Yadav caste which was thought to be a reason for the lack of enthusiasm on the part of Lalu Yadav to get the case going. ........ He has brought in a law to strip officials off their assets if they are found to be disproportionate to their income. He is also planning legislation to make government services a citizen's right. ....... Only Bengal and Kerala have managed to redistribute land to the poorer sections, that too with limited success. ... It will be Nitish Kumar's most important political achievement if he manages to pull off land reforms in the state without violence and erosion of his painstakingly built political equity.