Last Updated: January 18, 2023, 21:51 IST
One must not be indifferent to poorer states just because one comes from a rich state, said Kumar, without mentioning Modi by name(Image: PTI/ File)
“Bihar would have made unimaginable progress had our long-standing demand for a special status been accepted. We are making do with whatever resources we can marshal,” Kumar said
Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar on Wednesday took an indirect dig at Prime Minister Narendra Modi while voicing displeasure over the Centre’s “refusal” to grant special category status to the state.
In a free-wheeling conversation with journalists at Buxar district, which he toured as part of his state-wide mass outreach programme ‘Samadhan Yatra’, Kumar referred to Modi, formerly his Gujarat counterpart, coming from “a rich state” while accusing the latter of “being oblivious of the needs of poor provinces”.
“Bihar would have made unimaginable progress had our long-standing demand for a special status been accepted. We are making do with whatever resources we can marshal,” said the JD(U) leader who had pulled the plug on the alliance with the BJP less than six months ago.
The provision of granting special status had been in place to support the backward states, which must progress if the nation is to prosper, he said.
“One must not be indifferent to poorer states just because one comes from a rich state”, said Kumar, without mentioning Modi by name.
“His state has always been a developed one (hamesha se vikasit rajya raha hai). It has been so since the British era,” said the Bihar CM, once seen as a “secular” challenger to Modi, whose famed “Gujarat model” has often been damned with faint praise by the socialist leader.
Kumar refused to comment on the meeting hosted by his Telangana counterpart K Chandrashekar Rao, which is being seen as an attempt to form an alternative front that would be opposed to the BJP but also exclude the Congress, which is a constituent of the ruling “Mahagathbandhan” in Bihar.
He responded with a wry smile and a cryptic “sab baat aap logon ko pata hi hai (you people know it all)” to queries about the show cause notice issued by his principal ally RJD against its recalcitrant MLA Sudhaker Singh for comments against the CM.
Singh had landed the ruling coalition into an embarrassment with frequent vituperations against the JD(U) leader.
Replying to another query on the row sparked by controversial remarks of another RJD leader and education minister Chandra Shekhar about the “Ramcharitmanas”, Kumar said, “it is highly improper. One must not say anything which is controversial”.
When pointed out that the minister has not retracted his statement so far, the JD(U) leader said “I have already voiced my disapproval. So has his party….. religious beliefs are a matter of personal choice. One must not make it a matter of debate”.
He also sought to make light of remarks by another RJD minister Surendra Yadav, which has drawn the BJP’s flak.
Yadav had on Tuesday alleged, in an oblique reference to the Pulwama terrorist strike, “the BJP has already engineered an attack on the armed forces to win an election. This time it may attack some other country”.
The chief minister said, “I do not pay attention to all things that people keep saying. I am at present busy with my tour of the state.”
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(This story has not been edited by News18 staff and is published from a syndicated news agency feed)