Special status for Bihar: JD-U plans parliament stir

Patna, Feb 17: Over two dozen MPs from Bihar’s ruling Janata Dal-United (JD-U) will stage a dharna in parliament Tuesday demanding grant of special status to the state, JD-U state president Vashisht Narain Singh Monday said.

“JD-U MPs will put pressure on the central government by staging dharna in the premises of the parliament,” Singh said.

Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar has once again linked the grant of special status to development in the hope of JD-U sweeping the state’s 40 seats in the next Lok Sabha polls.

He has been blaming the Congress and state’s rival party, the Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD), over the issue of special category status to Bihar being put on the backburner.

The Raghuram Rajan Committee, last year, had identified Bihar as one of the “least developed” states.

The chief minister then described the committee’s report as a victory for Bihar that prompted JD-U leaders and workers to celebrate on the streets.

The committee suggested splitting states into three categories and subsumed the previous special category criteria for providing special assistance to poorer states.

Late last year and earlier this year also, Nitish Kumar hinted that the special status will be a major issue in the Lok Sabha elections if the centre turned down the demand.

He pointed out that Bihar’s per capita income, investments and electricity consumption are the lowest in the country and it also lags in all human resource indices.

Bihar would take at least 25 years to touch the national average of economic growth without special category status, Nitish Kumar asserted.

To put pressure on the centre, the JD-U held a rally in Patna last year and in New Delhi earlier this year. The party also collected over 10 million signatures to back their demand.

IANS