Millennium Post

Nitish steps up attack on UPA govt

Stepping up his attack on UPA government ahead of Lok Sabha elections, chief minister Nitish Kumar on Sunday accused the Centre of cheating Bihar and its people by putting the demand of special status in cold storage. 

‘We have been cheated by the Centre as it put the process for grant of special status to Bihar or an equivalent situation in the cold stage due to political reasons,’ he said at the JD(U)’s ninth Sankalp rally here. 

Kumar lamented that the Centre deferred at the very last minute the meeting of a committee headed by the Union finance ministry on November 26 last when it was slated to take a decision on granting special status or something equivalent to it on basis of Raghuram Rajan committee report. 

‘It was done so due to political reasons,’ he said, adding the Centre’s retrograde step was nothing but cheating with Bihar and its people. 

Hardening his stand on the issue, the chief minister said the special status demand was not a dole by Centre, but a right of Bihar and its people. 

‘I will not sit quite till I attain the special status demand,’ Kumar said.  The chief minister also hit back at the BJP and returned the betrayal charge saying he did not betray the erstwhile ally, but the latter did so to him by projecting a divisive leader as its prime ministerial candidate, he said, referring to Narendra Modi. 

‘It’s our consistent and considered view that a person aspiring to lead the country have to take all sections of the society and be committed to economic development of backward states,’ the senior JD(U) leader said.

Earlier Nitish Kumar had accused the Centre of withholding the grant of special status to Bihar for ‘political reasons.’  

‘We had an economic basis (for special status) and even the finance minister had supported our demand. But nothing happened, so it seems the Centre has put it in cold storage because of political reasons and the kind of jealousy they and their allies have against the kind of support we got for this demand,’ the Bihar chief minister said, indirectly referring to Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) chief Lalu Prasad Yadav, a loyal Congress ally.

His comments contrasted sharply with his bonhomie with the Congress just three months ago, when both sides were seen to explore the possibility of an alliance for the 2014 national election.

 In September, Kumar had exulted in the Raghuram Rajan panel report released by finance minister P Chidambaram, which ranked Bihar among India’s least advanced states and strengthened its case for special assistance from the Centre. Since then, he complains, nothing has changed. 

The Congress’ debacle in this month’s state elections seems to have led to a rethink within Kumar’s JD (U) on a partnership with the Congress. The JD-U’s former ally BJP won three states and emerged as the largest party in Delhi. Nitish Kumar ended his party’s 17-year partnership with the BJP earlier this year over the elevation of Narendra Modi.

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