Chief Minister Nitish Kumar addressed a Adhikar Rally at Ramlila Ground in New Delhi to press the demand for special status for Bihar as JD(U) President Sharad Yadav addressed the gathering prior to Nitish.
After bifurcation of the state in 2000 and creation of Jharkhand, state’s financial strength was badly affected and it lost its mineral strength to Jharkhand.
The (NDA) government had then assured a special package for Bihar but it did not see the light of progress.
Nitish Kumar believes that a special status is must for Bihar to proceed on the path of growth and development .
The Adhikar rally took place days after Nitish Kumar welcomed Finance Minister P Chidambaram’s budget speech announcing the government’s intent to change the criteria of deciding the backwardness of states.
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has also talked about the growth story of Bihar.People in the central government, too, are feeling that there should be justice to Bihar.
Addressing a party rally in the national capital on Sunday, dubbed as a show of strength by Bihar’s ruling party JD(U), Kumar said his state should be given special status as it is lagging behind in all aspects of development.
He also sought the Centre’s assistance for development of all backward states in the country, asserting that only those who feel for such states will rule the Centre after 2014 Lok Sabha elections.
“We will leave everyone behind and move ahead with development. And we will present a model before the world. These days development model is being discussed. This model is what takes along everyone together. This is the real development model of India,” the Chief Minister said, in an apparent reference to the ‘Gujarat model’ being touted by Chief Minister Narendra Modi.
“All the backward states should get their rights. We are not begging, special status is our right….We won’t be quiet until we (Bihar) get special staus,” he said.
Kumar’s rally was held a fortnight after the central government proposed to change the parameters of determining backwardness of states, an announcement immediately welcomed by the Chief Minister, who interpreted it as a positive step towards realising the goal of special status for Bihar.
Finance Minister P Chidambaram’s announcement in the budget in this regard and its immediate welcome by Kumar fuelled speculation of JD-U coming closer to Congress at a time when Modi’s stocks appeared to be rising in BJP with whom Kumar’s antipathy is well-known.
Upper castes poor should not get any quota: JD (U)
Top JD(U) leader Shivanand Tiwary flayed JD(U)-BJP govt in Bihar for constituting an Upper Caste Commission, saying the upper castes poor should not get any quota benefits and a good eco was sufficient to rescue them from poverty.
“I don’t think they (upper castes) should be given any reservation benefit which are strictly made for the Backward classes and Dalits,” said Tiwary, who is general secretary and national spokesperson of JD(U).
He criticised the decision of the NDA government in Bihar to constitute the Upper Castes Commission to look into the grievances of poor amongst the upper castes and taking steps for their socio-economic empowerment including reservation if necessary.
“This (formation of the commission) is just an unnecessary and useless step, I don’t know why it has been done but I strongly oppose any move to grant them (upper classes) any quota benefit in the country,” he said in New Delhi on Sunday.
“Since ages, they (upper caste) have oppressed the lower strata people, discriminated against them and deprived them of their due rights. How and what sense does it make for anyone to explore the idea of granting reservation to them or even forming the commission,” he said.
“Yes, there is some problem of poverty among the upper castes too, it will be cured automatically when the economic development of country will speed up, no need to make commissions and granting quota for this,” Tiwary said.
The remarks come even as his party colleague and Bihar CM Nitish Kumar is trying hard to bring the upper castes into his fold to prepare for situation when his party might not be allied with the BJP.
Even opposition parties had promised 10 percent reservation in government jobs and educational institutions for the poor amongst the upper castes if voted to power.
Tiwary’s remarks might not go well with JD(U) ally BJP which counts heavily on upper caste voters especially in Bihar.
It has been two years since the formation of the upper caste commission, but the body has not come up with any concrete recommendation, and until recently, didn’t even have an office.
Accepting the prevalence of caste in Bihar even today, Tiwary said, “We don’t make tall claims of having eradicated the ‘caste’ and breaking the caste cauldron but yes, there has been tremendous change and our social justice mechanism has grown from strength to strength.”