The Janata Dal (United) sought to scotch speculations on Thursday that the party, an NDA ally, would move closer to the Congress and UPA if Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar’s demand for special status for Bihar was accepted.
“If the UPA government does this (granting special status to Bihar), for which we have got signals during the budget session, we will welcome this. But JD(U) has no such proposal to support UPA or Congress in lieu of this,” JD (U) general secretary KC Tyagi told the media.
“Granting special status to Bihar on the basis of its backwardness is not a matter of bargain. It is Bihar’s right and not a bargain. Whether it is UPA or NDA, other backward states should also get such a status. It is the responsibility of the central government.”
State will not get special status, says Montek
Meanwhile, Planning Commission deputy chairperson Montek Singh Ahluwalia on Monday said that there was no change in its position on granting special category status to Bihar.
A panel headed by former Planning Commission secretary Sudha Pillai had rejected Bihar’s demand for the special category status saying that the state fails to meet the status norms such as hilly and difficult terrain, low population density, sizeable tribal population, strategic borders with neighbouring countries and unviable nature of state finances.
“The group comes to a finding that Bihar’s case for special category state is not made out,” the panel said in its report to the Prime Minister’s Office last year.
The panel had, however, accepted that Bihar was facing “huge development deficit” and its per capita income was lower than the national average and may require additional financial benefits to improve its socio-economic situation.