Nitish ticks off Centre for no special status

FrontBihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar (left) with Assocham president Rana Kapoor (centre) and Rajya Sabha MP NK Singh at a conference in New Delhi. PTI

Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar on Monday criticised the UPA government for not considering special category status to

his state, arguing its priorities seem to have changed owing to impending general elections.

"It seemed for a while that the Centre was serious (about special status). It took some initiatives. It now seems to have developed cold feet. The issue is in cold storage. Elections are coming. It will be a big issue for us," Kumar said while addressing a conference 'Bihar Kal, Aaj aur Kal — Governance at the grassroots: A model for India.'

Kumar, who had organised a massive show of strength in the Capital early this year to articulate his special-status demand, had been soft towards the Congress following his party's break-up with the BJP.

However, the chief minister refused to vent his reaction on the possibility of the Congress allying with his bete noire Lalu Prasad's Rashtriya Janata Dal saying the Janata Dal (United) was not concerned about it. "Waqt-waqt ki baat hai. Time changes. The wheel of time rotates all the while. It favours somebody at one time, and others at another time."

Taking a dig at Lalu Prasad, he said "someone after coming out of jail is behaving as if he was behind bars for participating in the freedom movement".

Without naming Gujarat Chief Minister and BJP's prime ministerial hopeful Narendra Modi, Kumar said the nation is being led to dream that "a magic wand" has entered the Indian atmosphere from the space, which would eliminate all problems. "Aajkal ek sapna dikhaya jaa raha hai. (These days a dream is being shown). It is that a magic wand has left the space and entered our atmosphere. Once it comes all our problems will disappear including at the borders."

"There is an attempt to blow the wind from west (Gujarat), but the east has been the centre of knowledge.... Nalanda and Vikramshila are situated in Bihar. Not Taxila. They should know the sun rises from east and sets in west."

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