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Nitish knocking at centre’s door

Delhi witnessed an epitome of modesty, honesty, simplicity and humility — Nitish Kumar — performing in the presence of a mammoth crowd at the wide, open stage of historical Ramlila Maidan in the capital city of the country. The land of Bihar, generally known for its politically fertility, has produced many leaders, though, the present chief minister of Bihar is different in many respects. He started following the footprints of the great leaders like JP, Ram Manohar Lohia, Karpoori Thakur, George Fernandez and SN Sinha to learn the alphabets of socialism. Of late, Nitish has been imbibing the principles of late VP Singh. Singh kept a safe distance from the visible communal forces despite indirectly sharing power with such forces. Like Singh, Nitish is wise enough to strike a balance while following the principle conceived by the late former prime minister.

Nitish Kumar addressed the ‘Adhikar Rally’ at Ramlila Maidan and pitched for the special status for Bihar, one of the BIMARU states in the country. As chief minister of a BIMARU state, Nitish was looking physically and mentally stable and healthy and different from his predecessors, such as Laloo Prasad Yadav and his wife Raabri Devi. It looked as if Nitish is made of different kind of soil with different temperament and absorbing power. He transformed his state from the shadow of fodder scams, gross indiscipline, rampant casteism, political chaos, bureaucratic inefficiency and financial instability to transparency, efficiency, openness, progress, development and prosperity. The unbelievable has been realised under the regime of Nitish, one has to accept and salute his untiring and sincere efforts.

The demand of special status for a state like Bihar is not unreasonable. It seems to be reasonable and justified for all the states included in BIMARU list. A special kind of grant, allocation and treatment as far as financial cementing is concerned, must be made available to all states facing the extreme poverty and financial dependency. It is strange that in our country such sort of special status is being accorded on political considerations and not on economic parameters. While addressing Adhikar Rally, Nitish presented facts and figures and the situations in his state such as poverty, migration of people in search of job opportunities to other states, lack of industrial infrastructure etc. The chief minister went on to establish the need of the special status as it is going to open smooth path of development and prosperity for one and all in the state. Nitish made it clear that we would not rest till Bihar is granted special status. It is a fact that Nitish has kept alive his year-long fight to demand special status from centre. He ultimately landed in Delhi to raise his demand in a most democratic manner. He also blamed the centre for not treating Bihar fairly since independence. Nitish said, ‘If India has to become a super power in 21st century, states like Bihar should be backed by Centre.’ By stating this, Nitish has also strived to express his support to other economically backward states like Bihar.

Nitish looked unmoved from his commitment. He exhorted his supporters to brace for the tougher battle ahead. He also warned that Biharis across the country would rise against the centre if their demand is not met. Special status would result in tax incentives for the state to boost investment and increase in union government share in centrally implemented schemes to the ratio of 90:10 among other benefits. This made him to say that even if special status is denied to Bihar at present, the next government in centre would have to accede to the request as only pro-poor outfit would win in the next general election in 2014. This statement by a cool, calm, sincere and serious politician should not be taken lightly.

It is time to analyse the statements of Nitish Kumar on political parameters. He has not clearly reacted to the recent advances made by the Prime Minister and the Finance Minister. Being a gentle and deep rooted politician, Nitish has not meaningfully reacted to the accolades given by Manmohan Singh in terms of the better growth rate of Bihar in comparison to Gujarat during last five years and announcement made by Chidambaram to amend the parameters to grant special status to the states. He kept his mediocre style of attack on the centre and left scope for carefully handling the post-election scenario without creating any sensation in NDA. Nitish spoke of the Bihar model of development, though he did not compare it with any other model in the country. His allergy to Namo, i.e., the Gujarat CM Narendra Modi, is well known. However, he is keeping his cards close to his chest. He will cross the river when it comes close to him. Nitish chose to address Adhikar Rally in Delhi when Assembly elections are barely a few months away. The show of strength might result in pitched negotiations with BJP in getting as many as seats for JD(U) in the Assembly election. Nitish, being aware of large number of Biharis settled down in Delhi, that too, in unauthorised colonies, utilised the opportunity to highlight the miseries being faced by the residents in such colonies. No doubt, Nitish wanted to cement the bonds of Bihari fraternity to keep alive his fight against the centre during next few years at least.
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