Nitish Kumar attacks Centre on issue of special status to Bihar

Last Updated: Monday, December 23, 2013 - 19:32

New Delhi: Amid indications that Congress may ally with RJD for Lok Sabha polls, an apparently upset Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar on Monday attacked the UPA government over the failure to grant special status to the state, saying its priorities have changed due to the upcoming elections.

The JD(U) leader refused to comment on the possibility of Congress forging an alliance with RJD led by his bete noire Lalu Prasad, dismissing it as "their decision" about which his party was not concerned.

"It seemed for a while that the Centre was serious (about special status). It took some initiatives. It now seems to have developed cold feet. The issue is in cold storage. Elections are coming. It will be a big issue for us," Kumar said while addressing a conference -- "Bihar Kal, Aaj aur Kal - Governance at the grassroots: A model for India".
Turning philosophical, he quipped, "Waqt-waqt ki baat hai (It all depends on times). Time changes. The wheel of time rotates all the while. It favours somebody at one time, it favours somebody else at another time."

Kumar had been consistently soft on Congress after he called off his party`s alliance with BJP over the elevation of Narendra Modi earlier this year.
Congress had dropped hints of courting JD(U) but lately it seems inclined to have a tie-up with RJD.

Asked by PTI if he was dissappointed over a possible alliance between Congress and RJD, the Chief Minister said his party was never in talks with the former for any alliance.

"This (tie up with RJD) is their decision...There was never any talk between us....Bihar wants special status and it is our right. We will get it," he said.

In an apparent reference to Prasad, he said somebody after coming out of jail is behaving as if he was behind bars for participating in "freedom movement".

Kumar launched an attack on the Gujarat Chief Minister, saying dreams are being sold to people that somebody with a magic wand will solve all problems facing the country. 
The discourse in the country has changed and neither growth nor growth model is being discussed, Kumar said as he hit out at Modi without naming him.

"These days a dream is being shown that a magic wand will come. It has left space and entered our atmosphere. It will come and all problems will disappear. Our problems at the borders will go. There won`t be any problem with Pakistan, China and Bangladesh," he said sarcastically.

Some people have even started buying this dream, he said, adding that they do not seem interested when he speaks about education of girls. "School education? They seem to suggest what rubbish am I talking," he said.

His long speech centered on development in his backward state and how it has transformed lives of the people in the last 10 years, but he intermittently kept attacking BJP and its PM candidate.

"Some people want to blow the wind from west to east but the east has been the centre of knowledge. They should know the Sun rises from east and it sets in west," he said. Many in the audience believed he was referring to Modi`s home state of Gujarat.

Kumar said his government was investing 24 per cent of its budget on education which no other state has done, adding that educational empowerment was key to Bihar`s future success as the scope for industrial investment there was limited.

He blamed a skewed developmental model for the economic slowdown, saying it relied heavily on the growth of a few developed states while left the others neglected.

Bihar has over eight per cent of the country`s population but contributes only 2.9 per cent to the national GDP.

"We will leave China behind. But for this growth has to be inclusive. It is exclusive now," he said. 


First Published: Monday, December 23, 2013 - 19:32

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