All Backward States Should Get Special Category Status: Nitish Kumar

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Maintaining that “all backward states” should be given special category status, Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar on Tuesday said it will boost progress in those states and, in turn, the country will grow at an unprecedented rate. Kumar said that those at the Centre are only interested in enjoying power, questioning if they were doing any real work.

“Those who are ruling Delhi are interested only in enjoying power,” said the longest-serving chief minister of the state, who has become a virulent critic of the Narendra Modi government after snapping ties with the BJP more than a month ago.

“Is any real work taking place? Are the states getting their due? I have said this before and I repeat, not just Bihar but all backward states should get special category status,” he added. Kumar made the remarks in course of his brief speech at a function where appointment letters were given to recruits in the animal husbandry and fisheries department.

“Special status will boost progress in all these states and, in turn, the country will develop at an unprecedented rate,” said the 71 years old, who had been seeking the privilege for Bihar for nearly two decades but seems to have widened the demand in line with a renewed focus on national politics. The chief minister also took a veiled dig at central investigating agencies, resented by opposition parties of all hues, saying, “People get picked up on flimsy grounds, where is real work?”.

Later, journalists approached him with queries about the meeting with Sonia Gandhi he had on Sunday, and Union Home Minister Amit Shah’s rally in Purnea last week where Kumar had been attacked heavily for “betraying” the mandate of assembly polls, which BJP and JD(U) had fought together. “I will respond to all accusations made in Purnea when we hold a rally there. We will finalise the date after the festive season is over,” said Kumar who also appeared satisfied with the brief meeting with Gandhi in presence of adversary turned ally Lalu Prasad, the RJD president.

When pointed out that Sushil Kumar Modi, his former deputy and supposedly his most trusted man in BJP, has claimed that Kumar and Prasad were given short shrift by Gandhi, the JD(U) leader responded with visible irritation. “Sushil Modi has been sidelined in his own party. I feel happy for him, though, when he tries to resurrect himself by uttering nonsense about me. May he keep doing so till his party leadership takes pity on him,” Kumar remarked.

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