Nitish welcomes Chidambaram setting panel for backwardness; BJP fumes
Patna: Chief Minister Nitish Kumar today said he will wait for the Centre`s decision on granting special category to Bihar, despite ally BJP terming the government`s proposal of forming a panel for deciding backwardness of states as an "illusory".
"The Centre has its own way of approaching an issue so what is the harm in waiting for good result," Kumar told reporters emerging from `Janata Ke Darbar mein Mukhyamantri` programme at his residence.
Finance Minister P Chidambaram had on Saturday said a high-level sub-committee would be formed to decide fresh criteria for backwardness and the panel would be told to submit report in a month`s time to decide which state qualified.
"I have no confusion what Chidambaram said on the issue," Kumar said. Staing that the special status issue had reached "a critical stage" now, Kumar said if special status was not accorded to the state before general elections, it would be the topmost agenda of JD(U) in the 2014 polls.
Asked that though he was welcoming Chidambaram`s announcement of setting a sub-committee to be headed by Chief Economic Advisor to Government of India Raghuram Rajan, his NDA partner BJP was describing it as "illusory", Kumar said "I cannot say about people looking into politics of it, for me it is an issue of sentiment attached with development of Bihar."
"It is a demand of the entire state`s now, so people or party shall not look into "agar or magar" (if and but) of the subject," Kumar said.
BJP National General Secretary Rajiv Pratap Rudy had yesterday described Chidambaram`s announcement as "illusory".
BJP national spokesman Shahnawaz Hussain today lambasted Chidambaram for describing Bihar as a backward state which, he claimed, was an insult to its over ten crore people.
Asked about the chances of Bihar being in the list of backward states after determination of fresh criteria by the sub-committee, Chidambaram had said that "Bihar will certainly qualify (on the new criteria of backwardness)".
When asked that Chidambaram had talked about setting up a sub-committee for deciding backwardness and not for according special category status as demanded by him, Kumar said "there should be no confusion as the criteria set up for deciding backwardness will lead to grant of special category status."
"Once the Centre declares a state like Bihar backward, the next step will be remedy for backwardness and this can be done through three steps--granting special status, devolution of more funds and allocation of money under State Reorganisation Act that came into being after division of the state into Jharkhand in 2000," the senior JD(U) leader said.
He said though Bihar has been on the forefront of the fight for special category status "I will be happy if other states sharing same fate also get the privilege."
He, however, denied being in touch with chief ministers of any such state to act as a pressure group.
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