Other States

We have not dropped demand for special category status: Nitish

A file poto of Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar.   | Photo Credit: PTI

Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar on Wednesday clarified that his party had not dropped the demand of special category status to Bihar but it was up to the Centre to take a decision on it.

Earlier, a senior Cabinet colleague Bijendra Prasad Yadav had said the Nitish government was tired of demanding special category status and was no longer interested in pursuing the demand but would now demand for a special package to the State.

“We’ve been making the demand for special category status to Bihar for a long time but we’re now tired of it. The Centre has brought a report on it where it has been clear that the special category status cannot be given to a State. So, in the prevailing situation a proposition is to make the demand for the special package for the State”, said Mr. Bijendra Prasad Yadav, senior JD(U) leader and Minister for Energy, Planning and Development, on September 27.

But, the senior JD(U) leader’s comment created a flutter among alliance BJP leaders. “What special package he [Mr. Yadav] is talking about? The Prime Minister has given ₹1.25 lakh crore to the State as special package and had also announced to stand by the State in its hour of need”, said BJP leader and party spokesperson Prem Ranjan Patel.

State BJP president Sanjay Jaiswal said, “Earlier, the State’s share of revenue was 32% and now it has been increased to 42% while the remaining 54% is spent through different Centrally sponsored schemes.”

Panel recommendations

Some other BJP leaders reminded the JD(U) leader about the “proposed recommendations of the 15th Finance Commission in which Bihar is likely to get ` ₹4,78,751 crore [₹4,24,926 crore as Central taxes and ₹53,825 crore as grants] which is the second highest in the country.”

“We should stop this tendency of begging instead we should develop ourselves in such a manner that we could provide assistance to others. We should be grateful to the Prime Minister for providing so much to the State,” young BJP leader and Minister for Road Construction Nitin Navin said.

RJD slams JD(U)

Opposition Rashtriya Janata Dal and Congress leaders took on the ruling JD(U) for failing to get special category status to Bihar despite being in alliance with the BJP for so long both at the Centre and in the State. “A Chief Minister who could not succeed in getting central university status to Patna University, how could he able to get special status to Bihar? I’ve already said Nitishji has become tired and now his party has also accepted that they along with Chief Minister have become tired. He [Mr. Kumar] is only worried about his chair and not Bihar,” tweeted Leader of the Opposition Tejashwi Yadav.

Senior State Congress leader and party MLC Prem Chandra Mishra too hit out at the JD(U) for taking a U-turn on the special status demand for Bihar. “Chief Minister Nitish Kumar used to say that he would stay with those who help him in getting special category status to Bihar. I wonder why he is still sticking with the BJP which has been denying Bihar’s demand for special category status since long?”, Mr. Mishra said. Political parties in Bihar have been vociferously demanding special category status to the State since 2005.

However, on Wednesday Mr. Nitish Kumar clarified that his government had not dropped the demand of special category status to Bihar but it was up to the Centre to provide it. “We’ve not dropped the demand of special category status to Bihar ever. But, the decision to provide it lies with the Centre. We’ve been demanding for special category status to the State for long, the Centre is to take decision on it for the development of the State”, said Mr. Kumar in Patna. He tried to douse the political flames which surfaced after the statement on the issue by a senior Cabinet colleague.

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Printable version | Jan 20, 2022 2:21:14 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/we-have-not-dropped-demand-for-special-category-status-nitish/article36744150.ece

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