Bihar under Nitish ahead of Gujarat in growth rate: Congress

Reaching out to Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar, Congress said government will "sympathetically consider" assistance to state which has seen higher growth under him than Narendra Modi`s Gujarat.

Updated: Mar 18, 2013, 20:27 PM IST

New Delhi: Seeking to reach out to Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar, Congress on Monday said the government will "sympathetically consider" any request for assistance to the state which has seen higher growth under him than Narendra Modi`s Gujarat.
At the same time, the AICC saw no possibility of special status for the state and said that the issue should not be politicised.

Party spokesman Rashid Alvi also reminded Nitish Kumar that the UPA had given to Bihar more than double the allocation during the NDA period when the Bihar Chief Minister himself was a Union Minister for some time.

"We have doubled the allocation for Bihar as compared to the NDA period. We have taken full care of Bihar. It has been given more allocation than some Congress ruled states.

"There has been no discrimination towards any state, irrespective of which party rules it. If Bihar wants any type of assistance, it will be sympathetically considered," Alvi told reporters.

Asked whether the Congress felt that the demand for special status for Bihar is not justified, Alvi said at least the economic data indicates this.

"How can you call a state backward, when its growth rate is so high?", he said dismissing suggestions that there was any difference between the views of the government and the party on the matter.

Replying to a question whether there was no strong case for special status for Bihar, he said "every political party has the right to address rally and make demands.... This issue should not be politicised"

Apparently seeking to drive a wedge in the NDA on the issue of development, Alvi said that the 10.9 per cent growth rate of Bihar is more than 9.3 per cent in Narendra Modi run Gujarat and Bihar is ahead of Gujarat on the issue.

Asked whether the Congress was praising Kumar to spite Modi and woo Bihar Chief Minister towards the UPA, Alvi said "we do not want to make any comments on (differences between) Modi and Kumar. It is their internal matter. He (Kumar) has not come out of NDA".

Yesterday, Kumar held a `Adhikar` rally here to press the Centre for according the privileged status to Bihar saying the state needs funds for development.

Alleging his state has been "discriminated" against, the JD(U) leader had said, "We do not have to see either to the left or to the right. We have to look straight.

Alvi emphasised that the assistance to the states is given under certain formulas evolved by the Planning Commission considering different criteria.

As per that, Bihar has been given Rs 8400 crore between 2004 and 2011 under the Backward Region Grant Fund. Besides, 1500 crore rupees were given last year.