Bihar chief minister and Janata Dal (United) president Nitish Kumar on Tuesday said that the special category status for the state remains a ‘key concern’ and the party is ‘committed’ to pursue the matter despite the Centre declaring it a closed chapter on the basis of 14th Finance Commission recommendations.
“It has remained an important agenda for us, since 2006. The demand has been unanimously endorsed by both houses of the state legislature. Over one crore people have signed in support. The demand has been raised strongly and in a logical manner before the 15th Finance Commission. We have a clear view that a state like Bihar has a fit case,” Kumar said shortly before leaving for Delhi to attend a meeting of NDA leaders ahead of parliamentary poll results.
By raking up the matter, Kumar has signalled that the JD (U) was keeping its gun powder dry for leveraging the issue during assembly elections slated for next year.
Bashistha Narain Singh, president of the Bihar unit of the JD(U) had raised the issue on Monday saying “ensuring special category state status for Bihar will remain the main agenda for JD (U) during ensuing assembly elections. The party will strive for getting necessary amendments for facilitating it.”
Kumar had walked out of Grand Alliance in 2017 on the issue of corruption and had rejoined the BJP in the “interest of the state”. Questions were raised then, whether the wily politician had been able to extract a promise or a commitment from the BJP leadership on the subject or not.
RJD Senior Leader Shivanand Tiwari hit out at Nitish Kumar over raking up the issue after Lok Sabha elections are over and results are due on May 23.
Shivanand said on Tuesday that Nitish’s demand to grant special status to Bihar has not remained a matter of allegiance for him but merely his political sloganeering. He said that he wanted to tell now that Nitish Kumar would raise the issue of granting special status to the state. According to his state president, JD (U) would be making this an issue ahead of assembly elections. After a long time, Nitish Kumar has opened this issue out of the box. But this is his tasted tactics. However this is going to work Nitish himself is not sure about.
Tiwari said that friend of Nitish and Finance Minister Arun Jaitley has already told in a clear tone that no status would be granted special status category. Even chairman of 15th Finance Commission and JD (U) former parliamentarian Mr. N. K. Singh has made it clear that no state would need special status for development.
Senior RJD Leader said that it was a golden opportunity if Nitish was honest in getting special status for the state. He had this opportunity when he had exit somersaulting from Mahagathbandhan.
He said that if he had put a condition of special status before Mr Narendra Modi for joining hands with him it would have been achieved. However, he did remember his seat of CM while somersaulting but forgot to discuss special status for the state.
He said he would expose the tactics of Mr Nitish before public.