New Delhi, Mar 3 IBNS | 10 months ago

Backing Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar, senior Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader Arun Jaitley on Monday batted for a special category status for the state.

In his opinion column titled 'Special category status for Bihar' on his website, Jiatley said: "There are several states in the Eastern part of the country which economically have not progressed in comparison to the others. These States have also suffered from natural disadvantages.

"Their resource mobilization itself has been inadequate. It is therefore natural that these States aspire to get a special category status which will ensure higher central revenues and grants."

"Bihar has been one such State which has been aspiring for a special category status. On account of division of the original Bihar between Bihar and Jharkhand, natural resources became a part of Jharkhand."

Jaitley further said: "The NDA government in all these years in Bihar had repeatedly demanded a special category status for Bihar. Amongst the political parties of Bihar there is a near consensus on this issue. The Congress in the last two years has held an olive branch to the JD(U) that it was willing to consider the grant of special category status to Bihar."

"In the 2013 General Budget speech the Finance Minister had in fact indicated that the Government would constitute a committee in order to favourably consider the grant of special category status to Bihar.

"This assurance was more political than being linked to the economic necessities of Bihar. The intention of the UPA was to lead the JD(U) up the garden path that the special category status to Bihar was indeed coming," said Jaitlety.

"I do not know how the astute leadership of the JD(U) fell for this. Coincidentally the signaling towards this special category status was also at the same time when the JD(U)- BJP break-up in relationship took place.

"Once the JD(U) was on its own the special category status did not come. Simultaneously, in the Swayamvar between the RJD and JD(U) the Congress party preferred its old ally."

"Newspaper reports now indicate that the seat sharing between the RJD and the Congress is somewhat stalemated. The JD(U) has organized a state wide protest to demand the special category status.

"The media has also indicated that the JD(U) may even now attempt an alliance with the Congress, a party which has already double-crossed it on the special category status," said Jaitley.

Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar on Sunday led a protest march here to pitch for his demand to get a special categorystatus for his state.

Kumar walked for 6 km from his residence to Gandhi Maidan in Patna. He staged a sit-in dharna under Mahatma Gandhi's statue.

He also called for a state-wide bandh on Sunday

Except some essential services, everything remained shut on Sunday across the state.

On Saturday, the Janata Dal-United (JD-U) chief led his cabinet colleagues and party activists in beating utensils to protest against the Centre's decision of denying special category status to the state while the same was given to Seemandhra.

Kumar beat a metal plate with a small hammer outside his official One Anne Marg residence for five minutes from 7 pm to register his protest against Centre's decision.

"We have no problem that Seemandhra was given special category status within 24 hours of the formation of Telangana. If the Centre can act within 24 hours with them, and we have no issues, so why put our demands in cold storage," the Chief Minister said on Saturday.

"When you can give special category status to the Seemandhra region in 24 hours, then you still have time, give Bihar a special status in another 24 hours," Kumar demanded.

(Posted on 03-03-2014)

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