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Centre will have to consider special status for Bihar: Nitish

Centre will have to consider special status for Bihar: Nitish
Buoyed by reports that the Centre was favourbly disposed to consider incentives for Bihar, chief minister Nitish Kumar on Tuesday exuded confidence that it will have to consider his special status demand as it has been ‘articulated on solid reasons’.

‘There is strength in our logic that the Centre should grant special status to Bihar in view of its economic backwardness,’ he told reporters while reacting to media reports in this regard.

‘In the end, the Centre will have to consider the special status demand for Bihar in view of our reasoning for the same,’ Kumar said.

The chief minister, however, downplayed reports which claimed the Centre may change the criteria for grant of special status to the states to accommodate Bihar’s aspiration before the next general elections and said there was nothing new in the reports.

Union finance minister P Chidambaram had spoken about revisiting the criteria for special status in his budget speech in a follow-up action to similar pronouncements in the economic survey report, Kumar said and described the reports in this regard as consistent with the Centre’s stand.

Kumar said Bihar and other backward states should be granted their due rights to join the bandwagon of development and urged the Centre to walk the talk and fulfill promises made by Chidambaram in his budget speech and the economic survey report.

‘The Centre will be compelled to consider our demand in the end,’ he said claiming he was on a sound footing in making the special status demand.

The chief minister has been raising pitch on the special status demand for Bihar and reportedly bargaining with UPA government on the issue by holding out promise to support it during crisis to its survival.

Kumar had held an impressive public meeting in New Delhi earlier this month and demanded special status for Bihar in view of economic backwardness.


BJP NOT AMUSED WITH CENTRE’S PACKAGE POLITICS

With the government reaching out to Janata Dal-United(JD-U) through a special financial package to Bihar, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) was not amused with the United Progressive Alliance’s (UPA) overtures. ‘The Manmohan Singh government is tottering and is on the verge of a total collapse. Whatever efforts it may make, I don't think it is going to survive for long,’ said BJP spokesperson Rajiv Pratap Rudy.

The BJP leader also went at lengths to say that their alliance with JD-U is still strong and they will contest the elections together. ‘In Bihar, there is a strong BJP-JD(U) government, we are preparing for the Lok Sabha elections... Irrespective of what the Central government thinks, Bihar deserves (financial) support and it should not be based on politics,’ said Rudy.

Even JD-U chief Sharad Yadav was of the view that political meaning should not be derived from reported central government’s move to change the criteria for backwardness. ‘Whatever is happening, it is worth welcoming, there is no need to derive political meaning from this,’ he said.
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