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Nitish, Kejriwal target Modi, back each other

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Chief Ministers Nitish Kumar and Arvind Kejriwal on Wednesday shared a stage here and took on Prime Minister Narendra Modi, demanding special status for Bihar and full statehood for Delhi.

At a function to honour select people from Bihar living in Delhi, both Kejriwal and Nitish Kumar hit out at Modi on issues ranging from One Rank One Pension (OROP) to black money.

Speaking a day after Modi announced Rs.1.25 lakh crore for Bihar, the Aam Aadmi Party leader said: “If the PM has so much money, he should first meet the demand of soldiers demanding OROP.”

He also wanted to know if the prime minister would give the money to Bihar only if the Bharatiya Janata Party wins the coming assembly election or even if it loses.

In a sarcastic tone, the Delhi chief minister said: “I wonder whether he (Modi) will give even 1.25 paise to Bihar.”

Expressing support to Nitish Kumar and his Janata Dal-United in the Bihar elections, Kejriwal urged the people of the state to “create history”.

Echoing Nitish Kumar’s repeated demand, Kejriwal said Bihar should get special status so that it makes rapid economic development.

Nitish Kumar, who received a rousing welcome at the event, listed the achievements of the Bihar government, saying it was developing in double digits and the school dropout rate had fallen steeply.

“Even then they call Bihar a BIMARU (sick) state,” he said, referring to a term Modi used in an election speech. “And they comment on my DNA.”

“Give Delhi the status of a full state, and give special status to Bihar,” he said.

Kejriwal also spoke at some length about the problems he has been having with the central government over the Anti-Corruption Branch (ACB) in Delhi.

“For the past 23 years, the ACB was with the Delhi government. But from June 8, the BJP government used the paramilitary to capture it.

“The chief minister of Delhi has no control over the ACB now,” he added.

Thanking the Bihar chief minister for sending honest officers to work in Delhi’s ACB, Kejriwal said: “People of Bihar have to choose between a (state) government which is helping to strengthen the ACB and a (central) government which wants to capture it.”

Nitish Kumar said both he and Kejriwal were targeted by Modi and they must help each other in every respect.

The JD-U leader said he invited Kejriwal to Bihar to speak on the public delivery system. Kejriwal said he has accepted the invite.

In recent months, Nitish Kumar has met Kejriwal at least four times while visiting Delhi.