In what appears to be the two NDA partners heading for a direct confrontation, the Janata Dal-United (JD-U) led by chief minister Nitish Kumar has threatened to launch an agitation if the Centre fails to grant special status to Bihar. The Narendra Modi government at the Centre has, so far, shown no interest in JD-U’s demand for special status despite its repeated requests, hugely annoying the ruling partner.
Talking to the media, JD-U’s parliamentary board chairman Upendra Kushwaha today expressed his displeasure over the way his Centre has continued ignoring their demand despite JD-U being a part of the NDA. “Getting special status is the legitimate right of Bihar and there is just no technical hurdle in granting this status. This can be possible if the Prime Minister really wants so,” Kushwaha told the media persons.
Stating that the NITI Ayog has identified Bihar as “backward” in matters of development, Kushwaha demanded an early grant of this special status to put the state on the path to progress and prosperity. He said the party would continue raising the issue until the state gets it’s due and even announced to launch agitation as a last resort.
The senior JD-U leader also wondered over the way BJP is dragging its feet on granting this status to Bihar after initially supporting this demand. According to him, all political parties in the state had unanimously put this demand before the Centre but it’s very surprising that “some people” are speaking in different languages in an oblique reference to BJP’s opposition to the demand.
Kushwaha also hit out at the BJP leaders for their remarks that the state had got more funds than what it could have got after getting special status. “If that is the case they should hold a Press conference to inform the masses about what Bihar has got as a special package and how much it helped in pushing up the state’s development index.
The BJP reacted by stating that the Centre had contributed significantly towards carrying out development works in the state. “The BJP government at the Centre has been allotting huge funds in pushing up development works in the state,” a BJP minister Nitin Navin said. Darbhanga MP Gopaljee Thakur said the PM announced an Rs1.25 lakh crore financial package for Bihar and this money is regularly coming to the state which has contributed to the state’s development.
The JD-U is irked at the way the BJP leaders have been regularly opposing the special status demand, let aside supporting it. At least two leaders, deputy chief minister Renu Devi and labour resources department minister Jibesh Mishra, have said in public that the state doesn’t require special status saying the Centre has already granted a special package to the state.