Patna: Union minister of consumer affairs, food and public distribution and Lok Janshakti Party (LJP) chief Ram Vilas Paswan has supported the demand raised by chief minister Nitish Kumar and the JDU for granting special status category to Bihar but within the guidelines set up by the National Development Council (NDC).
Speaking to reporters on his two-day visit to the state, Paswan said: “Bihar is a backward state and it should be granted special status category. But the status is given as per the recommendations of the National Development Council.”
Paswan’s remark on the status demand to Bihar is likely to start a debate on the issue because on one hand he has supported the JDU on the special status and on the other hand he has stated that the demand should be made based on the recommendations of the NDC.
In March, the Telugu Desam Party led by Andhra Pradesh chief minister N. Chandrababu Naidu walked out of the NDA over the special status category demand.
According to the NDC recommendations, the status is granted to states based on a number of features which include hilly and difficult terrain, low population density or presence of sizeable tribal population, strategic location along the international borders, economic and infrastructural backwardness and others.
At present, 11 states have special status. Earlier, Assam, Nagaland and Jammu & Kashmir were accorded special category status and later Arunachal Pradesh, Manipur, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Uttarakhand, Tripura, Himachal Pradesh, and Sikkim were added to the list.
The LJP chief’s statement assumes importance as the JDU, an ally of the BJP, has started pushing the envelope before the 15th Finance Commission. JDU national general secretary K.C. Tyagihad recently said: “When a team of the 15th Finance Commission visits Bihar in July, the party will put forward its demand strongly.”
The Opposition had recently mocked the JDU saying why is there so much hue and cry on the special category status when the BJP is ruling at the Centre as well as in the state.
Paswan also took digs at Congress president Rahul Gandhi’s prime ministerial ambitions saying: “There is no vacancy for the Prime Minister’s post in 2019.”
Courtesy: The Telegraph