New Delhi: Addressing a massive rally at the Ramlila ground in Delhi on Sunday, Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar reiterated his demand for special status for the state.
Lauding the contributions of the people of Bihar in the development of the country and their participation in the freedom struggle, Nitish said, “We are not begging for special status. It is our right.” He asked, “Don't we have the right to progress?”
Saying that Bihar is not against other states being given special status, Nitish stressed that with a little help from the Centre, Bihar can too become a developed state.
The Bihar CM blamed the lack of industries and unfavourable economic policies as being the main factor for the migration of Biharis to other states.
Pointing out that the Bihar has not been treated fairly, Nitish said, “Today’s rally has shown the strength of Biharis who have turned out in huge numbers to demand their right,” Nitish said.
Highlighting the fact that Biharis in the national capital were living in a poor state, he said that people of his state used to face humiliation earlier but now the situation had changed completely. “The reason for the change in perception is because Bihar is now on the path of progress,” Nitish emphasised.
"Either you give it (special status) now or after 2014, you will have to give it. You will have to accept the demand in circumstances that will be there after 2014. Only one, who feels about the backward, the backward states will occupy the seat of power in Delhi (Centre)," Kumar said.
Nitish launched a clear counter to Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi's development plank saying, "We will leave everyone behind and move ahead with development. And we will present a model before the world. These days development model is being discussed. This model is what takes along everyone together. This is the real development model of India."
“The powerful people of Delhi must take notice of the growing strength of Biharis,” he added.
He also said, “When you become a good Bihari than you can become a good Indian.” Adding, "If policies change, the benefit will not accrue only to Bihar but other backward states as well."
Talking about the state of Bihar, Nitish said, "If you see the per capita income, we are just a little more than one-third of national per capita income and have the lowest per capita income. Roads, railways, and other infrastructure are below average. The per capita expenditure for development is half of national average ... all human development indices are lower."
"If we get special status, we can also become one of the developed states. We have been told that we do not meet all qualifications for getting special status. Change the criteria then," he said.
The JD(U) leader had reached Delhi yesterday to address the Adhikar rally.
First Published: Sunday, March 17, 2013, 08:24