Hours after TDP pulled out of the NDA government at the Centre over the denial of special status category to Andhra Pradesh, another NDA ally the JD(U) and the Opposition RJD revived it in the interests of Bihar.
Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar had made a dramatic turnaround last year and quit the RJD-Congress grand alliance which had catapulted him to power in 2015. Among the many reasons he had cited for joining the NDA was the need for greater funds for his state from the Central government.
Mr Kumar has repeatedly demanded special status for Bihar and has also appealed directly to Prime Minister Narendra Modi in this regard.
On Thursday, JD(U) national spokesperson K.C. Tyagi said: “Bihar cannot progress without special status. We support Andhra Pradesh’s demand. Today Andhra Pradesh is at the same place where Bihar was after its bifurcation. All the resources have gone to Telangana”.
Tejashwi Yadav, leader of Opposition in the Assembly, took to Twitter in blaming Nitish for forgetting the issue to fulfil his political ambitions.
“Chief minister Nitish Kumar had forgotten his long-standing demand for special status for personal gains after he allied with BJP. He has mortgaged the rightful demand of special status to Bihar in lieu of special bungalow in Delhi and Z-plus security cover for himself. Nitish Kumar must apologise to people of Bihar,” Tejashwi said.
The RJD leader also urged the Bihar chief minister to listen to his “inner voice and take a decision like Andhra Pradesh chief minister Chandra Babu Naidu”.
RJD leaders also referred to a letter which Tejashwi had sent to Bihar CM urging him to raise the issue with Prime Minister. They said that the chief minister ignored the plea and didn’t bother to reply.
Reacting to the special status demand, Union minister and Lok Janashakti Party chief Ramvilas Paswan said that the state has already got a special package, which is monetarily as beneficial as special status. “But, despite this some people aren’t satisfied and to them, I will just say that India can only grow in NDA’s regime”.
“People will not forgive Chief Minister Nitish Kumar who had promised special status to Bihar in March 2014 Lok Sabha rally at Muzaffarpur. Nitish Kumar must play the recording in front of Prime Minister. For personal gains Nitish Kumar surrendered Bihar’s benefit”, A message was found circulating on the twitter account of RJD Chief Lalu Yadav who is languishing in Jail after being convicted in fodder scam cases.
The issue is likely to snowball further into a political agenda against the JD (U) in Bihar during the campaign for by-elections which is slated for March 11.
Special status category to Bihar has been a key issue for Bihar Chief Minister who had raised it on various platforms earlier. In one of the rallies in 2009 Bihar Chief Minister had created a flutter in the political circle by announcing his support to any party which grants special status category to Bihar.
The opposition party leaders say that Nitish Kumar went silent after Centre rejected his demands for the special status category in 2017, barely two months after he left the Grand Secular Alliance and returned to NDA fold.
They also raised questions over the genuineness of the special package of Rs. 1.25 Lakh Crore in central funds for Bihar which was announced by Prime Minister Narendra Modi before 2015 assembly elections.
“Nitish Kumar must inform people how much from that package which was announced by PM was sent for the development of Bihar”. RJD leaders said on Thursday in Patna.