Union Cabinet clears Rs 12,000 crore package for Bihar



Union Cabinet clears Rs 12,000 crore package for Bihar Zee Media Bureau

New Delhi: With the BJP-JD-U war over Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi intensifying, the Union Cabinet cleared Rs 12,000 crore package for Bihar on Thursday.

The Bihar package under the Backward Region Grant Fund (BRGF) is a substantial mark up from Rs 5,500 crore during the previous Plan period and comes at a time when Congress is eyeing Janata Dal (U) leader Nitish Kumar to shore up support in Parliament.

The recent troubles in NDA over Modi’s likely chances of becoming the BJP’s prime ministerial candidate in 2014 polls, with Janata Dal (U) and BJP on the verge of a split, has provided the ruling coalition an opportunity to woo the Bihar CM given UPA's depleted numbers following the exit of DMK.

Bihar had earlier received special support of Rs 1,000 crore a year since Jharkhand was carved out of it in 2000. The grant was to be discontinued, but Kumar managed to keep it going in the 11th five-year plan. In comparison, Odisha has been given Rs 1,250 crore.

It will be interesting to see if the move will please Kumar as the funds expected to be allocated are far less than his demand of Rs 20,000 crore, while it would be highest allocation for any state under BRGF.

In another development, BJP chief Rajnath Singh will meet the state unit leaders of Bihar today to resolve their growing differences with the leaders of ally JD-U over the issue of projecting Modi as the BJP candidate for the prime minister’s post.

Interestingly, it was also reported that former BJP chief Nitin Gadkari had once assured Kumar that Modi will never become the party’s candidate for the top post, something which he categorically denied today.

With Agency inputs