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Special status stirs JDU-BJP ‘rift’

Published : Nov 20, 2019, 2:02 am IST
Updated : Nov 20, 2019, 2:02 am IST

JDU insists Bihar deserves it, BJP views it otherwise.

Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar (Photo: PTI)
 Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar (Photo: PTI)

Patna: JD(U)’s renewed demand for the special status and central government funds for the state has raised the political temperature in Bihar. The situation arose after JD(U) MP Kaushalendra Kumar raised the issue in the Parliament on Monday.

He said that Bihar’s per capita income is lower than the national average. Therefore, keeping in mind the provisions of the Bihar Reorganisation Act 2000, the recommendations of the 14th Finance Commission and the Raghuram Rajan Committee, special support is required to bring backward states like Bihar to the national level.

But, the BJP which has been JD(U)’s alliance partner in Bihar since July 2017 has a different view on the issue.

Talking to this newspaper, BJP spokesperson Nikhil Anand said, “The connotation of special status may seem attractive but the double engine government has done a lot more for Bihar in terms of special packages and developmental initiatives. The Union government has funded the development of Bihar in all the sectors. As per the present norms laid down by the Finance Commission, special status tag to any state in the future seems a difficult task. If we pragmatically assess the development need of Bihar, the double engine government is doing more than what it could after getting special status for the state.”

JD(U) leaders believe that Bihar meets the criteria because of its poor infrastructure. They said that the “the special status category will help Bihar get various tax concessions which may attract investments and industries”.

Bihar has not seen any big-ticket investment despite Nitish Kumar’s effort to woo industrialists. Market observers are of the view that the situation deteriorated after liquor companies were forced to shelve their production and expansion plans after the ban was imposed in the state in April 2016. The state has been looking for an option to make up for the revenue loss to the tune of `5000 crore due to liquor prohibition since 2016.

The Opposition parties on Tuesday criticised the JD(U) for raising the issue for political gains during Assembly elections scheduled to be held in 2020. Hindustani Awam Morcha (HAM) chief Jitan Ram Manjhi was the first to react on the issue.

Tags: nitish kumar, bihar reorganisation act