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If we form govt in 2024, special status for backward states: Nitish Kumar

The JD(U) leader made the remark in reply to a query from journalists on the sidelines of a function here.

Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar with Deputy CM Tejashwi Prasad Yadav at CM Secretariat in Patna, Thursday. (PTI)

If a non-BJP opposition front comes to power at the Centre in 2024, it would give special category status to all backward states, Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar said on Thursday.

This comes days after Telangana Chief Minister and TRS chief K Chandrasekhara Rao, another Opposition leader seen as eager to play a national role, had said during his visit to Bihar that if their front comes to power at the Centre, it would provide free water and electricity to the people,

Bihar has long been demanding special category status, but both the Congress-led UPA and the Narendra Modi-led NDA governments at the Centre have denied that right to the state, citing that Bihar, being a land-locked state, did not fulfill the criteria to be granted special category status.

“We still demand special category status for Bihar,” Nitish told the media during an interaction on Thursday on the sidelines of a function here. “If we (non-NDA parties) form the government in 2024, we will give special category status to all backward states.”

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Nitish did not explain the composition of the “main front” of the opposition parties he has been talking about.

Playing down BJP Rajya Sabha MP Sushil Kumar Modi’s the criticism of the Grand Alliance government in Bihar following the incident of indiscriminate firing by assailants on a highway in Begusarai district, Nitish said: “One Modi (PM Narendra Modi) has not given this Modi (Sushil) any assignment. If he keeps targeting us, he may get some position (in BJP) in the long run.”

As the next move to get the opposition parties united, Nitish and RJD chief Lalu Prasad are likely to meet Congress president Sonia Gandhi soon to take it forward. Nitish has already met senior Opposition leaders such as Rahul Gandhi, Mulayam Singh Yadav, Sharad Pawar, Sitaram Yechuri, Sharad Yadav, and Om Prakash Chautala.

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In what is being seen as an effort to placate alliance partner RJD, Nitish had on Wednesday also played down differences with the party over Agriculture Minister Sudhakar Singh flagging alleged corruption in lower bureaucracy. “I had simply asked him (Singh) to explain what happened, but he did not say anything. I have closely monitored the progress in the Agriculture Department. If there is any issue, it can be discussed,” he said.

First published on: 15-09-2022 at 02:05:57 pm
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