The JD(U) decision to back UPA presidential nominee Pranab Mukherjee appears a move to wrangle the special category state status for Bihar from the Centre, while opening up more options for the party ahead of the 2014 general elections.
Even JD(U) Bihar unit president BN Singh suggested that the party’s decision to break ranks with the BJP-led NDA on the July 19 presidential polls could benefit the state.
“Extending support to Mukherjee will help Bihar realise its demands. We have already demanded constitution of an expert committee to look into Bihar’s demand for special category state status,” Singh said on Friday.
An experts’ committee, constituted last year, had rejected Bihar’s demand for the special status.
According to sources privy to the internal developments in the JD(U), the party got a “positive signal” from the Congress leadership at the Centre that Bihar’s demand for the special status may be sympathetically considered in lieu of its support for Mukherjee.
The JD(U) decision on the presidential polls comes within days of Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar’s thumbs down to projecting his Gujarat counterpart and BJP strongman Narendra Modi as the NDA’s potential prime minister candidate ahead of the 2014 Lok Sabha elections.
“The party’s move to support the Congress-led UPA nominee in the presidential polls will open up the possibility of parleys with the Congress and other like-minded political formations if Modi is pushed as the PM candidate,” said a JD(U) leader who did not want to be named.
Meanwhile, Mukherjee telephoned Kumar and is believed to have thanked him for his party’s support for his presidential bid.