RJD asks JD(U) to revive demand for special status for Bihar, threatens to begin statewide agitation
Tejashwi Yadav, leader of Opposition in the Assembly, said Chief Minister Nitish Kumar had forgotten his longstanding demand for special status for personal gains after he allied with BJP.
PATNA: After TDP pulled out of the central NDA government over the demand for special category status for Andhra Pradesh, Bihar’s main Opposition party RJD on Thursday reminded the ruling JD(U) of its past demand for the same and asked it to revive it in the interests of Bihar.
Tejashwi Yadav, leader of Opposition in the Assembly, said Chief Minister Nitish Kumar had forgotten his longstanding demand for special status for personal gains after he allied with BJP. Asking him to put up the demand afresh, Tejashwi said Kumar should follow his Andhra Pradesh counterpart and TDP chief Chandrababu Naidu and follow suit if the Narendra Modi-led government remains indifferent to Bihar’s demand.
“Nitish Kumar forgot all about his aggressive demand for special status for Bihar in the past after he got a bungalow allotted in Delhi and got Z Plus security cover,” said Tejashwi. “I had written a letter to Kumar on February 5 urging him to raise the demand afresh with Prime Minister Narendra Modi. But he did not even reply to my letter. If Bihar’s demand is not met, he should resign and pull out from NDA,” he added.
Tejashwi said if the CM does not raise the demand forcefully before the Centre, RJD would begin statewide agitations on the issue and rest only when Bihar gets “what it deserves due to its socioeconomic backwardness”. His father, the jailed RJD chief Lalu Prasad Yadav, also said during his appearance at a Ranchi court that Bihar should be accorded the special state status.
Between 2006 and 2013, Kumar had turned his demand for special state status for Bihar into an emotive issue and built it into a socio-political movement across the state. With his ally BJP’s moral support on the issue, he had played the victim card and argued that resources-starved Bihar would take 25 more years to catch up with India’s developed states without this official economic distinction. JD(U) had led a long, clamorous campaign for special state status.
“We salute Naidu for his courageous stand. Like Andhra Pradesh, Bihar bore the economic brunt after Jharkhand was carved out of it. But there seems to be a big difference between the two chief ministers,” said RJD national spokesman Manoj Jha. “Ever since Kumar betrayed Bihar’s mandate of 2015 Assembly polls and ditched the RJD-Congress combine to ally with BJP, he has been living in mortal fear of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and BJP president Amit Shah,” alleged Jha.
JD(U) principal general secretary KC Tyagi supported Naidu’s demand and said Bihar deserves to get special state status. “Bihar cannot develop in the true sense of the word unless it gets special state status,” he said.