Nitish storms Delhi to rival Modi model

Last Updated 18 March 2013, 03:23 IST

Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar pushed  forward his model of development on Sunday to contrast Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi’s “development mantra.”

Kumar said his model will “take along all the people together,” in a bid to oppose Narendra Modi in national politics. 

In an obvious attempt to change the discourse on development being championed by Modi, the Bihar chief minister appealed for unity of backward states and declared the ‘right to development’ for the people of poor and backward regions, including Bihar, as his agenda for the 2014 elections. 

Addressing a hugely attended Adhikar Rally in the famous Ramleela Maidan of the national capital to demand status of “special state” to Bihar, Nitish Kumar invoked
Bihari sentiment, “Only those who empathise with the people of backward areas can aspire to gaining power in Delhi in 2014. Give special status now, otherwise you will have to give it in 2014.”

He threatened the UPA government saying that it would not be possible to ignore the demand.

Kumar also drew a political line for the coming general elections. “You do not have to see to the Left or to the Right; just see straight in 2014 elections and select who concedes your demands,” he said.

However, he gave another political signal of softness towards the Congress and showered praises on Finance Minister P Chidambaram for showing concern to the problems of Bihar.

“I am glad that following the economic survey, the finance minister addressed Bihar's problems. He said that the parameters by which the special status is granted should be reconsidered,” he said.
Pat and prick to Centre

“In fact, during the budget speech, he (Chidambaram) hinted that the government will rethink the parameters. I hope he will keep his words and we demand our right to special status be honoured by the Centre,” Kumar said.

 However, he attacked the Centre for ignoring the needs of the sate even during the devastating Kosi floods and warned the government that if it did not stick to its commitment, “This is only the beginning; the real fight will follow.”

“We will present a model before the world. These days development model is being discussed. This model (his model) is what takes along everyone together. Every Indian has the right to grow,” said the Janata Dal-United (JD-U) leader. He referred to his bicycle scheme and asked whether any of the UPA’s schemes had benefited such a
vast population.

Chief of JD-U and NDA convener Sharad Yadav declared that there would be a huge struggle if the Biharis did not get their right to development.
Special status

The JD-U went alone in demanding the status of special state and kept the BJP away from the rally.

The party also tried to exhibit unity at all levels as all the leaders including Shivanand Tiwari, Vashishta Narian Singh were present.

(Published 17 March 2013, 08:44 IST)

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