Nitish Kumar rakes up Special Status for Bihar again

Bihar Chief Minister and Janata Dal (United) president Nitish Kumar said that his party was committed to the special category status and that it would pursue the matter even though the Centre declared it a closed chapter based on the recommendations of the 14th Finance Commission.
“Since 2006, the SCS has remained important on our agenda and it has been endorsed by both the houses of the state legislature. There is people’s support also for the demand. We raised it strongly before the Finance Commission too. We feel that a state like Bihar is a fit case for granting SCS,” he said.
He was about to leave for Delhi to attend a meeting of the NDA leaders ahead of the announcement of results of the parliamentary polls. Political observers feel that by raising the matter, Kumar has signalled that the JD (U) was gearing up to leverage the issue during assembly elections scheduled next year.
Earlier, Bashistha Narain Singh, president of Bihar unit of JD (U) had raised the issue saying “ensuring SCS for Bihar will remain the main agenda for JD (U) in the upcoming Assembly elections. The party will strive to get necessary amendments made for getting SCS accorded to the state.”
The JD (U) chief walked out of the Grand Alliance in 2017 on the issue of corruption and had rejoined the BJP in the “interest of the state”. Then, there were questions raised if Kumar had been able to secure a promise from the BJP leadership on the SCS.
The SCS sprung back to limelight again after the JD (U) succeeded in extracting equal seat share (17-17) from the BJP despite securing only two MP seats in the 16th Lok Sabha. Kumar indicated that the JD (U)  might be a part of the Union government this time. 
“Irrespective of the ext poll predictions, we were optimistic of the return of Narendra Modi  government and all its allies will also be a part of the NDA government.” He also dismissed speculation of  possible confrontation between the JD (U) and the BJP over their stance on Article 370, Uniform civil code and Ayodhya temple.
“Ever since we entered into the alliance in 1999, there has been no contradiction on the issue. We stick to our stand that Article 370 need not be scrapped or Uniform Civil Code be foisted. Ayodhya issue has to be resolved either through mutual consent or through the court’s decision,” Kumar said.
As a political party, BJP can have its own policy but in an alliance, every party has to be consulted and accommodated before the actual government agenda is set, the JD (U) chief pointed out.
Kumar also dismissed the Opposition parties’ charge of manipulation of electronic voting machines. “Technology has brought in transparency in the polling process. I am for it. It is only because the opposition parties are fearing a defeat, they are raising doubts.”

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