Yogi Brought Back UP Students From Kota; Now Opposition In Bihar Wants Nitish Kumar To Do The Same

by Swarajya Staff - Apr 19, 2020 04:12 PM +05:30 IST
Yogi Brought Back UP Students From Kota; Now Opposition In Bihar Wants Nitish Kumar To Do The SameBihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar (L) with BJP Chief Amit Shah. (K Asif/India Today Group/Getty Images)
  • Rajasthan’s move to issue passes to the students and UP’s decision to bring them back to the state has put the Nitish Kumar government in a difficult position.

Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar has disapproved of the move of bringing back students living in Kota (Rajasthan) to Bihar amid the Covid-19 spread and the ongoing nationwide lockdown. Kota is one of the popular education hubs in Rajasthan.

He has said that such steps would go against the nationwide lockdown and make a mockery of the lockdown. The Opposition in Bihar has mounted pressure on Kumar to bring back students hailing from Bihar, who are currently in Kota for studies and preparing for competitive exams.

The pressure on Kumar came from the Opposition after Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath made arrangements to bring back students hailing from the state from Kota.

Thousands of students from Bihar and UP go to Kota every year to prepare for competitive examinations at the various coaching centres.

Many live in the town and their parents accompany them to make things comfortable during the preparation, or until the students find suitable accommodation.

The Adityanath-led UP government is in the limelight for bringing back thousands of students stranded during lockdown from Kota in buses. The buses took them to Jhansi and Agra. Health checks were conducted. These students then departed for the different districts in state buses. They will be home quarantined if tests come negative.

Bihar seems to not endorse the idea for two reasons — social distancing and safety.

In Bihar — in a video conferencing meet which was held to review the pandemic in the state — Nitish Kumar said that only social distancing can protect people. The meeting was attended by district magistrates and police chiefs.

The report says: “Referring to the return of more than 40 people, including students and guardians, from the Rajasthan town earlier this week, which had evoked a strong protest from his government, Kumar said some people did not agree to stay back and hence, had to be brought back.”

The issue of students from Bihar stuck in Kota saw an uncomfortable situation arise between Bihar and Rajasthan governments over their transfer. It began when the Kota administration started issuing passes to students who are studying at different coaching centres in the town, to travel back to their states. The passes being issued were not only for the students, but also their parents.

This shot up worries for the Bihar government. Kota is an emerging hotspot for Covid-19 pandemic. Movement of so many people in the middle of the coronavirus spread and crises is not being considered appropriate. In such a situation, the arrival of students and their parents in the state would increase the government's concerns.

The Bihar government has raised an alarm. It has ‘lodged a protest with the Central government.’

This report mentions that Bihar Chief Secretary Deepak Kumar shot a letter to Union Home Secretary Ajay Bhalla.

It said: “Such movement from Kota is not at all advisable in the present scenario. In Bihar, we are now medically examining the returning students as well as their guardians accompanying them, and instructions are being issued to quarantine them.”

Among those in Bihar expressing concerns is Sanjay Kumar Jha, Minister, Water Resources Department, Government of Bihar and National General Secretary, Janata Dal (United).

He took to Twitter to counter Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot, when the latter said that students of states (other than Uttar Pradesh) ‘can be sent to their home states on the consent of the concerned state government...”

He even asked Gehlot if Rajasthan had called back all outstation students.

Jha is reported to have taken a swipe at senior RJD leader Tejashwi Yadav, who had attacked the Bihar government for not ‘facilitating the return’ of Biharis stuck in other parts of the country in the lockdown.

Yadav had attacked the Bihar government citing the example of UP government's actions for bringing back students back from Kota in Rajasthan and other states.

He suggested that the JD(U) government in power in Bihar was helpless while the government (Uttar Pradesh) ruled by BJP was taking steps towards helping people stranded outside the state.

On Sunday, Jha took to Twitter to say that Bihar government was using all its strength to keep the Covid-19 situation under control.

CM Nitish Kumar said that the step of bringing students back will make a mockery of lockdown, as those students still stuck in Kota would want to be brought back.

BJP in Bihar tried to bring in some balance. Deputy Chief Minister Sushil Kumar Modi said in a press release that Bihar was ‘leading by example’ to help its migrants living outside the state.

State BJP spokesperson Nikhil Anand said in a statement that Yadav was ‘ill-informed’ about the steps being taken by the state government for migrants under the impact of the lockdown.

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