Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar's hope to get central university status conferred on Patna University was dashed with Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday bypassing his request.
During the centenary celebration function of Patna University here, the Chief Minister, whose JD-U has become part of the NDA and is ruling Bihar in alliance with the BJP, said that he requests with folded hands that Prime Minister Modi announce the much-awaited central university status to Patna University.
"People of Bihar are looking forward to PM Modi with hope that you will announce central university status to Patna University," he said.
However, Modi downplayed Nitish Kumar's demand and instead suggested that the state government involve the alumni of Patna University to develop it and urged the faculty and authorities of Patna University to come forward with their excellent performance to become part of education reform in the country.
"Nitish Kumar has demanded for central university status to Patna University during his address, which was applauded by the gathering present here, but I would suggest for a step ahead of the central university status," said Modi.
"I am here to invite Patna University to become part of education reform by its good performance. Patna University should involve its alumni to develop it and ensure that it becomes one of the 10 government-owned universities that would be selected under an ambitious programme to make them world-class universities," the Prime Minister said.
The demand for central university status has been raised time and again by Vice Chancellors of Patna University, politicians, faculty members and students in the past.
Modi said that time has changed and there is urgent need for education reform in India. "Till date reform in education is very slow. It should be speeded up," said Modi who is the first Prime Minister to visit Patna University.
Nitish Kumar in his speech praised and lauded the Modi-led central government's functioning and different schemes.
It had been expected that Modi may announce central university status to Patna University after Nitish Kumar joined hands with the BJP and formed the government in July.
Earlier, Modi was received by Bihar Governor Satyapal Malik, Chief Minister Nitish Kumar and several Bharatiya Janata Party leaders on his arrival in Patna.
Unprecedented security arrangements were in place for Modi's visit. Patna has been turned into a fortress with thousands of security personnel deployed and traffic diversions made.
Modi is to also lay the foundation stone for four sewerage projects under the Namami Gange Programme and four national highway projects in Mokama area of Patna district.
The total outlay of these projects is over Rs 3,700 crore.