Patna: JD(U)’s fresh pitch for a special category status for Bihar has heated up the political temperature with the Opposition mocking the plea and the ruling JD(U) hitting back claiming that “the grand alliance is not capable of understanding what is important for the people of the state”.
Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar recently said that the party would continue to raise the issue despite the Centre’s disapproval to the demand on the basis of the 14th finance commission. Mr. Kumar gave the statement in Patna before attending the dinner meeting hosted for NDA leaders ahead of Lok Sabha poll results.
“It has been our party’s agenda since 2006 and we will continue to raise it. We strongly believe that state like Bihar has a fit case,” chief minister Nitish Kumar said.
By raking up the issue after the Lok Sabha polls, Bihar chief minister has hinted that the issue would be JD(U)’s main agenda during the Assembly elections slated to be held in November 2020.
The issue was raised by JD(U) state president Basisth Narayan Singh earlier this week who had categorically stated that “the party has not forgotten its old demand for the special category for Bihar and this will our main agenda during the Assembly elections”.
While the political analysts see their demands as an indication which may churn the JD (U)-BJP ties ahead of 2020 Assembly elections, the Opposition parties in Bihar called it a pressure tactic against the BJP.
According to the RJD, the ruling party did not raise the issue during the Lok Sabha polls.
“This is nothing but a joke, the party which contested the Lok Sabha elections without releasing its manifesto, how it can raise the issue of special status without consulting the BJP. What is more suspicious is that the JD(U) didn’t raise the issue even once during the Lok Sabha elections which it fought in alliance with BJP. People of Bihar are smart and they are not going to fall into their traps anymore,” senior RJD leader Jay Prakash Narayan Yadav told this newspaper.
Dismissing allegations that the ruling party was resorting to pressure tactics, JD(U) leaders said demand for the special status category to Bihar has been a key issue for chief minister Nitish Kumar.
During a rally in 2009, Nitish Kumar who was with the NDA had created a stir by showing his willingness to extend support to any party which helped the state get special status.
Sources claim that after forming the government with the BJP in July 2017, Nitish Kumar urged the Prime Minister to bring the state under the special category.
Among many reasons, he had cited for returning to the NDA fold was the need for a special package.
The Opposition leaders say that Nitish Kumar went silent after the Centre rejected his demand in 2017 barely two months after he returned to the NDA fold.