Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar has been trying to blunt all Opposition criticisms by saying Bihar BJP has been behaving like a bad loser and has been left with only options of “beating their chests” in frustration for next five years.
But when Nitish Kumar did not see any Bihar city on the list of first lot of cities across the country to go “smart”, it was his turn to go livid. Though Bihar cities, Bihar Sharif, Muzaffarpur and Bhagalur are very much on the list of 98 cities, Bihar towns missed the bus in the first lot. Nitish has reasons to see political reasons behind it. Nitish calls NDA government “ungrateful”. “UP and Bihar have given them around 100 Lok Sabha seats but they are so ungrateful to have not chosen any city for Centre’s smart city drive”, said the Bihar CM at a Vaishali function.
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This is the first sign of Centre-state confrontation, which in turn, would be taken as another political opportunity by JD (U) to showcase as Nitish-Modi clash that took legendary proportions during 2015 Bihar Assembly elections. Nitish has already attacked Centre for slashing MNREGA funds and curtailing Indira Awas Yojana quota. On personal political note, such confrontations would suit Nitish in projecting himself as nucleus of anti-Modi politics. If BJP-led NDA government stretches it bit by delaying special package to Bihar, there could be several instances of Centre-state tiff in the offing.
With JD (U) and RJD playing fine balancing act of running coalition, BJP may well have to wait for its real opening in Bihar. As for Nitish, he would encash all opportunities to lash out at Centre at any pretext of denial and delay of its share. Nitish may well have boasted of having embarked on a mega Rs 5,000 Cr six-lane Ganga bridge (Patna-Vaishali) project on its own, he knows Bihar cannot sustain its growth for long without adequate push from the Centre. Nitish has been talking of making villages smart but he knows smartness comes for a cost. The Bihar CM will have to find a meeting point between state and Centre. The same goes for BJP that has to get over Bihar defeat.