Powercuts signal trouble for Nitish

After proving a handy boon for the JD(U) on the day of Narendra Modi’s prime ministerial nomination by the BJP, a massive statewide power outage in Bihar caused by agitating employees has now signalled trouble for the Nitish Kumar-led JD(U) government.

Millions of people across Bihar were unable to watch Modi’s formal coronation on TV due to a 12-hour-long power outage since Friday afternoon following violent clashes in Patna between police and members of the Power Engineering Services Association. Even as the Opposition BJP’s leaders and workers celebrated Modi’s rise in mostly dark environs, the ruling JD(U), smarting under the political development, were quietly delighted that the saffron blitzkrieg was not reaching TV screens of the state’s masses. But the supposed gains to the JD(U) proved momentary as the crisis unfolded further in power-starved Bihar.
Enraged by the police lathicharge that injured about 10 PESA members, the agitating 17 unions of the now-disbanded Bihar State Power Board allegedly masterminded the snapping of electricity supply at the venue in Patna of a JD(U) medical unit programme addressed by chief minister Nitish Kumar on Saturday.
The protesters, pressing for seven demands related to their service matters and recruitment policy, also badly thrashed four chief engineers even as energy minister Bijendra Yadav promised to hold talks on Monday.
The BJP, RJD, LJP and Congress flayed the government’s handling of the protests. While a major grid failure in the north, north-eastern and eastern regions on July 31, 2012 had seen power supply restored in Patna in less than ten hours, inept handling of Friday’s manmade crisis sparked public resentment, more so because Kumar has been constantly promising stable power supply.
On Sunday, senior BJP leader and former deputy chief minister Sushil Kumar Modi said: “As the JD(U) government is busy deceiving the people with false promises, it must reveal how Bihar’s power crisis would be solved with special state status”.

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