New Delhi: In his first foray into national politics, Bihar Chief Minsiter Nitish Kumar came up with a powerful political statement at the Adhikar rally in Ramlila Maidan in the capital. He admitted that while Finance Minister P Chidambaram's Budget 2013 had showed concern for Bihar, the state had largely been treated unfairly by the Centre.
During his speech, he very clearly indicated that henceforth, whatever the Centre does, for or against Bihar, will have a bearing on the 2014 General Elections.
During the speech, Nitish also tried to juxtapose his politics against that of Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi, by saying that his model of development was that of a unified India. "Taking everyone along is my model of development," he said, in a veiled reference to the Modi's speeches about the Gujarat model of development.
Through his rally, political analysts say, Nitish was clearly making up a political issue in the run-up to the 2014 General Elections.
"This might be the first time that the Biharis have shown such strength in Delhi to get what they deserve. We have not been treated fairly. The Centre's policies have not been favourable. This is the time for the Centre to help Bihar. If helped by Centre, Bihar will be a developed state," Nitish said to loud cheering from the crowd.
Nitish further said that the Centre must not oppose similar demands from other backward states. "Do not oppose if other states started asking for special status too. If they fulfil the requirements, they should be helped, given the special status as well," he said. He added that the Adhikar rally was not a fight for Bihar alone, but for "other backward states too" and said that special status was Bihar's right. "Bihar is not begging for it. If they don't give the special status now, Bihar will get it after 2014," he said with a flourish.
JD(U) adopts resolution
Ahead of Nitish Kumar's speech, the JD(U) adopted a resolution which stated that the party will continue to struggle "till this quest for special category status is attained".