BJP attacks Nitish for returning midday meal funds

New Delhi: BJP today hit out at Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar for his government's alleged failure to use Rs 463 crore of central funds meant for mid-day meal scheme and asked him to clarify why this money was not used to provide better and clean food to students.
BJP, whose 17-year partnership with JD(U) broke last month, also charged Kumar has not been seen in public since the death of 22 children after consuming mid-day meals in Chappra district of Bihar. The party said he had not bothered to visit the families of the kids who died.
"This report that Bihar government had returned Rs 463 crore is not surprising. While strict action should be taken against those guilty of serving poisonous food to kids, it should also be probed why these funds were not used. Who will take the blame for failure to use the funds?" BJP spokesperson Shahnawaz Hussain said.
He maintained that while responsibility has to be fixed on those guilty of callousness, somebody has to take the political responsibility for the incident.
"Nitish Kumar has not visited those kids who are recovering in hospital. There are reports that the chief minister is unwell. We are concerned about the Chief Minister's health. After all, he is only a political rival and not an enemy," Hussain said.
BJP spokesperson Nirmala Sitharaman said the mid-day meal scheme in Bihar was in dire straits and the funds which were returned to the Centre could have been used for improving the quality and delivery of the food.
"Instead of improving the scheme, the Nitish Kumar government returned the funds," she added.