Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar on Saturday sounded the bugle for the 2014 Lok Sabha elections from Motihari, attacking both the BJP and UPA, indicating that he would maintain a safe distance from the Congress.
Kumar blamed the Congress-led UPA for delaying a decision on granting special category status to Bihar. The sudden change in stance is an indication of a likely change in his political strategy without Congress, which was believed to be reaching out to him after he severed ties with the BJP.
“The chances of granting special category status to Bihar had become bright after the Raghuram Rajan panel recommended change in the criteria of backwardness and put Bihar among the least developed states category. However, the government in Delhi is not taking a decision,” he said launching his ‘sankalp rally’ at Changhara on the Indo-Nepal border.
On several occasions earlier, Kumar had made it clear that the special category demand would be his main poll agenda in the 2014 elections and he would seek strength from voters to achieve this.
“We have come to take a ‘sankalp’ (pledge) that we would continue our struggle to achieve special category status for boosting the growth in Bihar. It has been deprived of opportunities only due to the wrong policies of the Centre,” he said.
Kumar also took potshots at the Centre for not adequately compensating Bihar after carving out Jharkhand from it. He demanded special package for Bihar to compensate the loss of mines and other natural resources needed for economic development.
He also hit out at the BJP for coronation of Narendra Modi as the party’s PM candidate and cautioned people against “divisive” forces led by the BJP. “They are trying to vitiate the social harmony. But people of Bihar will not allow them to flourish,” he said.