Chief minister Nitish Kumar on Monday slammed Prime Minister Narendra Modi for ‘deceiving’ the people of Bihar by denying special category status to the state and stopping the operation of the PatnaMumbai AC Suvidha Express launched with much fanfare by him on July 25.
Dubbing the denial of special category status to Bihar by the Centre as a ‘cruel joke’ on the people of Bihar, Kumar said the BJP had listed the special category status and special package to Bihar as its priority before the Lok Sabha polls but now it had gone back on its promise.
Kumar was reacting to Union minister of state for planning Rao Inderjit Singh’s statement in the Lok Sabha on July 31 that “there is no proposal as of now to grant special status to any state. There is a proposal to give special package”.
Kumar said that he had raised the issue of special category status and special assistance at appropriate forums several times in the past but nothing tangible had been done so far.
He said if the dictum of ‘cooperative federalism’ had to be genuinely translated into reality, speedy action was required on pending proposals of the state government.
“I had raised the issue of reduction of allocations to Bihar in view of the recommendations of the 14th Finance Commission. The Union finance minister had also proposed to give special assistance to Bihar as provided in the case of Andhra Pradesh. I have also raised the issue of grants-in-aid on an assured basis and fund flow under BRGF as approved by the Union cabinet. But the demands are still pending,” he said.
Raising the issue of stoppage of the air-conditioned Suvidha Express train from Patna to Mumbai, Kumar said it was not only a ‘fraud’ against the people of Bihar but a mockery of the Prime Minister by involving him in the flagging off ceremony.
Modi had recently flagged off the Patna-Mumbai AC Suvidha Express in the presence of chief minister Nitish Kumar and several Union ministers. It was known later that the Patna-Mumbai AC Suvidha Express would not run regularly but only when there was demand for it.
“It is rarest of the rare instance in which the Prime Minister flags off a train and then its operation is stopped. I was not aware that it was an ‘on demand’ train. I have witnessed people standing in queue for train tickets but now people will have to stand in queue for starting the train,” he said.