Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar on Monday said an economic rather than political agenda was fuelling the ‘federal front’ idea. With Gujarat in mind, he also insisted his ‘inclusive Bihar growth model’ was better than those of the developed states.
“The proposed federal front is not a political formation. It is rather an economic agenda to ensure compensation for states left behind owing to the policies of the Centre,” Kumar said at a seminar on ‘Bihar seeks justice’.
The seminar was organised to mark the 77th birth anniversary of former Bimar chief minister Jagannath Mishra whose son, also named Nitish, is a minister in Kumar’s government.
The ‘non-political’ tag on the proposed ‘third’ front attained significance amid speculations that Kumar was inching closer to the Congress after his party, JD(U) ended its 17-year alliance with BJP on June 16.
The split followed the appointment of Gujarat chief minister Narendra Modi as head of BJP’s national election campaign committee.
Soon after parting way with the BJP, Kumar was profuse in thanking Prime Minister Manmohan Singh for calling him ‘secular’. And on June 19, four Congress MLAs helped him win a vote of confidence in the 243-member Bihar assembly.
Kumar got the support of 126 MLAs in the trust vote after 91 BJP legislators withdrew from his ruling coalition.
But Kumar sought to negate implications that the Congress-led UPA government in New Delhi was favouring Bihar with special financial packages to keep him in good humour.
“This package is not a political move to draw me towards the UPA. It is being given since the bifurcation of Bihar in 2000,” he said.
From 2000, when Jharkhand was carved out of it, Bihar has been receiving an assistance package of R1,000crore.
This continued in the 12th five-year plan.
The chief minister made it clear he would not settle for anything less than a ‘special category state’ status for Bihar, ‘necessary’ for expediting the state’s growth.
He also instructed officials to identify pilgrims still missing in Uttarakhand and help them reach home safely.
Kumar directed to widely advertise controlrooms set up in the districts for families to contact their members in the Himalayan state, an official statement said here.