Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar. PTI file photo.
The Andhra Pradesh episode found its echo in Bihar on Thursday when Leader of the Opposition in the Assembly, Tejashwi Yadav, asked Chief Minister Nitish Kumar to take a leaf out of Chandrababu Naidu's book on the special status demand for the state.
"Draw some lessons from Chandrababu Naidu. How he has been firm in his demand for special status to Andhra Pradesh...and how he has decided to pull out of the NDA government at the Centre when his demand was not met. If you have guts, you too should walk out of the NDA on the issue of special status to Bihar. We are with you on this emotive issue," Tejashwi said taking a jibe at Nitish.
The JD (U) strongman had been consistently demanding special status to the state arguing that ever since Bihar was bifurcated in November 2000, Jharkhand got all the mines, minerals, industries and coal belt thereby leaving only flood and drought for this part of the cow belt.
But, of late, after Nitish mended fences with Narendra Modi and joined the NDA, he has been quiet on the long-pending demand.
"You forgot the special status demand because of your personal gains. You are continuing as Bihar chief minister due to the BJP's support. You got an official bungalow in New Delhi because of the BJP. I wrote a letter to you on February 5 to raise this issue of special status, but you never responded. Where is your 'antaratma' (inner conscience) now," Tejashwi asked.
Tejashwi's jibe came on a day when Nitish's Cabinet colleague Maheshwar Hazari, too, raised the old demand of granting special status to Bihar.
His demand was supported by JD (U) general secretary and former Rajya Sabha member Pawan Verma.
The ruling party in Bihar was, however, quick to distance itself from Verma's demand saying that "it was Verma's personal opinion".