Play Modi's 2014 speech assuring special status to Bihar

Sushil Modi Tejashwi Yadav

The opposition RJD in Bihar on Thursday challenged Chief Minister Nitish Kumar to take a cue from his Andhra Pradesh counterpart Chandrababu Naidu and "speak up" on the issue of special status for the state.

Taking a dig at the Janata Dal-United leader, the Lalu Yadav-led party has sought to know, "If Nitish has made a decision to handover Bihar to BJP before shifting his base to Delhi?"

"I had written a letter to Nitish ji on Feb 5 to raise the demand of special category status with Prime Minister Narendra Modi". But he did not even reply to my letter.

Tejashwi said if the CM does not raise the demand forcefully before the Centre, RJD would begin statewide agitations on the issue and rest only when Bihar gets "what it deserves due to its socioeconomic backwardness". "If Bihar's demand is not met, he should resign and pull out from NDA", he said. PM Modi had promised special status to Bihar in March, 2014 at a rally in Muzaffarpur during Lok Sabha elections.

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The RJD found support from an unexpected quarter as JD (U) general secretary Pavan Kumar Verma also raised the issue saying it was an old demand from the state.

The issue is likely to snowball further into a political agenda against the JD (U) in Bihar during the campaign for by-elections which is slated for March 11. SCS is essential for the development of Bihar. He also attacked the RJD for its criticism of the ban on sale and consumption of alcohol, saying "When we introduced prohibition and organized a state-wide human chain, they stood beside us holding our hands". Like Andhra Pradesh, Bihar bore the economic brunt after Jharkhand was carved out of it. "But there appears to be a big difference between the chief ministers of the two states", RJD national spokesman Manoj Jha told reporters here.

Special status category to Bihar has been a key issue for Bihar Chief Minister who had raised it on various platforms earlier. Taking pot shots at the chief minister, Jha said Kumar has been living in "mortal fear" of PM Modi and BJP chief Amit Shah ever since he "betrayed" peoples' mandate by breaking JD (U)'s alliance with RJD and Congress to form the government with BJP. "Bihar can not develop in the true sense of the word unless it gets special state status", he said.

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