The Congress-led United Progressive Alliance will have to agree to the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam’s demands if it is to stay in power, Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar said on Tuesday.

“Tamil sentiments must be respected in the entire country. Our relations with Sri Lanka should also be maintained,” Mr. Kumar said on his return to Patna from Delhi, where he had staged a rally to press for a special status for Bihar.

Opining that that the 2014 election would be held on time, Mr. Kumar said the Congress knew the ropes in politics and was good at mobilising numbers.

The Chief Minister expressed happiness over the progress on the issue of special status. His party Janata Dal (United) took the lead and collected two and a half crore signatures. “Had the JD(U) not raised this issue, there would have been no political instrument. Bihar will celebrate Diwali the day it gets special status.”

Mr. Kumar, who met Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, Union Finance Minister P Chidambaram and Deputy Chairman of Planning Commission Montek Singh Ahluwalia, said if Bihar did not get special status now, it would definitely achieve it after the next Lok Sabha elections. After the rally, he presented a resolution to the trio urging the Centre to act with urgency on the demand.

“People from different religions and communities gathered for the rally to put up a unified fight. The party which sympathises with backward areas will rule in Delhi,” Mr. Kumar said.