After TDP, Nitish Kumar’s JD-U expresses displeasure with BJP


Hours after Telugu Desam Party (TDP) which rules the southern Indian state of Andhra Pradesh pulled out the Narendra Modi government over denial of special category status to the state, the Janata Dal United (JD-U) headed by Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar too revived this demand after lying low for some time. JD-U which won the last 2015 state polls in alliance with the Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) and the Congress party returned to the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) only seven months back.

At least two top JD-U leaders came out in the open on Thursday to seek special category status to Bihar — a demand that has been a key political issue for the party since it grabbed power in the state in 2005.

“Bihar should be granted special category status. This has been the long-pending demand of the people,” building construction minister Maheshwar Hazari told the media on Thursday, suddenly heating up the political situation in the state. According to the minister, the Bihar chief minister may meet the Prime Minister over the issue “very soon”.

Another senior JD-U leader Pawan Kumar Varma also pitched for special category status. “Bihar must be granted special category status to speed up development works in the state,” JD-U’s national general secretary Varma demanded.

Granting special category status to Bihar has been key issue of Bihar chief minister. How this holds significance for Kumar is underlined from the fact that he held a massive rally at Patna’s Gandhi Maidan in November 2012, which was followed by another rally in Delhi in March 2013.

Earlier in 2009 just before the result of the Lok Sabha elections was to be announced, Kumar who was with the NDA then had created a sensation by announcing his support to any party which grants special category status to Bihar. However, his appeal went unattended as the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) gained majority on its own.

Till the last 2015 state assembly polls, the JD-U had raised this demand, but it went silent shortly after it returned to the NDA camp in July last year. The JD-U suffered the first major setback when the federal government outright rejected this demand yet the former didn’t react. The rejection of the demand comes barely 50 days after Kumar had walked out of the erstwhile ruling Grand Alliance and formed a government with the BJP in Bihar.

“An inter-ministerial group formed on September 8, 2011 had earlier discussed the issue of granting special category status to Bihar. It presented its report on March 30, 2012. On the basis of the present criteria fixed by the NDC (National Development Council), the group had come to the conclusion that Bihar can’t be granted Special Category status…There is no change in this criteria till date,” federal Minister of State (Independent Charge) for Ministry of Planning Rao Inderjit Singh said in his letter to a Bihar parliamentarian.

Leader of Opposition in Bihar assembly Tejashwi Yadav hit out at the chief minister for not raising this demand before the Prime Minister and asked him to take a lesson from Andhra Pradesh chief minister N Chandrababu Naidu.

“AP CM has set an example for others by taking a drastic decision in state’s interest but see how the Bihar chief minister is not even in a position to raise this decision out of fear,” Tejashwi said, adding a government is run with dignity and pride. He charged the chief minister with ignoring the state’s interests for “personal benefits”.


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