Nitish Kumar takes a swipe at Centre for not giving special status to Bihar

Lucknow: Chief Minister Nitish Kumar on Sunday launched a blistering attack on the Narendra Modi government for not fulfilling its promise to accord special category status to Bihar which is posing as a great impediment to big ticket investment in the state. He tore into the Centre’s argument that there was no provision for providing special category status as there was no mention of it in the 14th Finance Commission’s recommendations.

“Its in your hand whether to keep some provision or not,” Kumar said at an interactive session with mediapersons as part of the programme “Breakfast with the CM”.

“You talked about providing special status to Bihar but while time to fullfill it comes, ‘ulta kalaam’ (pen in reverse direction) runs,” Kumar said as a match to PM’s barb at him recently that while “Ganga (of development) was flowing from the Centre, the head of the state of Bihar is holding his ‘lota ulta’ (keeping pitcher in reverse manner)”.

The CM’s comments was in the context of Union Minister of State for Planning Rao Indrajit Singh’s reply in Parliament in the just completed monsoon session that there was no provision for providing special category status to Bihar and others. Kumar again stressed the need for special category status to Bihar and said policy support from the Centre could help Bihar take a “big jump” in development. Special category status would be an important poll issue of Kumar in the coming Bihar election.

The Bihar CM also raised the DNA barb of the PM and earlier to that of Union Surface Transport minister Nitin Gadkari that “casteism is in DNA of Bihar”.

“These people coming from outside and making denigrating remarks on Bihar…this has hurt the pride of Bihar and must be stopped,” Kumar said.

Asked about his strong reaction to DNA barb has been seen as a reactionary step, Kumar said “it means we can not even protest any insult on us. Anybody can come from outside and make any insulting comments and when we try to give reply to their approach, it is to ask us to shut up.” Dwelling on Gadkari’s “Casteism in Bihar DNA” comment, Kumar shot back “tell me where there is no casteism in the Indian sub continent?”

“Those who are making casteism remarks should be asked if it did not prevail in their state?” he said adding in Gujarat Patel and Patidar castes were making demand for reservation.

“Though its not a good thing, in India political formulation is based on caste system…its not justified to say that only Bihar is gripped with casteism,” he said.