In a statement that could lend itself to various interpretations ahead of government formation, Chief Minister Nitish Kumar today said the "basis of our support" will be to whichever government at the Centre that would give special status to Bihar.
"At a time when every party and pre-poll alliance is claiming that it would form government in Delhi, I ask parties in Bihar to make it a pre-condition for support that whichever party or alliance comes to power will provide special category status to Bihar," said Kumar, leader of JD(U) a key constituent of the NDA, who is being wooed by Congress and the Left parties.
He was speaking at a function for the release of a monograph 'Special Category Status: A Case for Bihar', endorsed by him and released by renowned economist Lord Meghnad Desai.
"I request all parties to make it a pre-condition that the basis for their support will be conferring special category status to Bihar....We have a good opportunity at hand (for a bargain in a hung house)," Kumar said.
In the midst of wooing by many parties, Kumar had maintained he was part of NDA which has projected L K Advani as Prime Minister.
Last week, he shared the stage with Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi at an NDA rally in Ludhiana.
Asked by reporters, whether he was prepared to lend support to a Congress-led government if it agreed to the demand, Kumar said, "It is a hypothetical question. All parties should think about it as Bihar has a favourable environment for industrialisation. Special status will mean tax holidays and encouragement to investors."
Though Kumar has been insisting that he is and will remain part of the NDA, it is quite likely that the parties jockeying for power would read an invitation in his statement for joining forces with the rider that the cash-strapped state gets special status.
About the reported move by the Third Front to project him as Prime Minister, Kumar said, "I don't even dream of it. I am not competent enough to become Prime Minister".
Kumar also denied reports that he was in talks with the Left Front or any other party outside the NDA.
"It is a matter of just hours now. Please wait till the results are out," he said.
The JD(U) leader has demanded that Bihar should be given special category status and even got a resolution adopted by the state assembly in this regard.