Chief Minister Nitish Kumar’s fresh pitch for special category status for Bihar heated up the political scenario in the state with the RJD mocking the plea made by him on social media and the JD(U) hitting back, claiming the opposition was incapable of understanding the nuances of the issue.
Kumar, in a post on Twitter yesterday, appealed for special category status for the state which would “act as a catalyst for private investment” and boost employment generation.
Finance Commission should look into the differentiated needs of Bihar and backward states with a special perspective.https://t.co/fr2BnzTOsN
— Nitish Kumar (@NitishKumar) May 29, 2018
The Bihar chief minister said the 15th Finance Commission must locate the resource gaps and support backward states like Bihar in their efforts to catch up with the developed states.
The demand for special category status had been raised by Kumar for a long time in the past. He raised the issue during days of the Congress-led UPA, when he was with the BJP, before parting ways with it in 2013. He had also held big public meetings in support of the demand in Patna as well in Delhi.
The issue came to fore again recently when the TDP left the NDA over denial of special category status to Andhra Pradesh.
Reacting to the fresh pitch, RJD leader Tejashwi Yadav today said Kumar should have had a direct word with Prime Minister Narendra Modi on the issue, instead of making a plea for the same on social media.
The ruling JD(U), headed by Kumar, however, said the special status was just one part of the assistance that the chief minister had sought for Bihar from the 15th Finance Commission.
“Kumar is part of a coalition which is also in power at the Centre. He is suitably placed to have a direct word with the prime minister on the issue. What is he trying to achieve through a lengthy discourse, addressed to no one in particular,” Yadav, the younger son of Lalu Prasad, told reporters.
“After all, whom does the chief minister expect to take a call on special status for Bihar. Does he expect US President Donald Trump to intervene on the issue,” he said.
Yadav claimed that Kumar suffered from a guilty conscience after his having ditched them to join the BJP-led coalition and was trying to justify his betrayal by pretending that he was fighting for the interests of Bihar.
He claimed that Kumar was left with no moral courage to take up issues of the state’s interests before Modi, who had snubbed him in October last year, in public view when he made a plea with folded hands for grant of central status to Patna University.
JD(U) national general secretary and Rajya Sabha MP R C P Singh, also a close confidant of Kumar, said they were not making an appeal to the prime minister and it was the Finance Commission that was to take a call on the issue of special status.
“The difficulty in grant of special status is arising out of the recommendations of the 14th Finance Commission. We are going to plead our case before the 15th Finance Commission set up by the Narendra Modi government,” Singh said.
He also said the chief minister had given a detailed description of the problems faced by Bihar and the possible remedies.
“The opposition is incapable of comprehending these nuances and it has latched on to the special status issue as it sounds catchy,” he claimed.