JD(U) won’t rock NDA boat, but will demand special status for Bihar

JD(U) won’t rock NDA boat, but will demand special status for Bihar

Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar has upped the ante over the special category status for his state but he will “not do a Chandrababu Naidu” to the BJP by snapping ties with the NDA before the Lok Sabha elections.

His recent critical remarks on demonetisation and vociferously raising the demand on the special category status have set the tongues wagging in political circles about whether the JD(U) chief is having second thoughts on continuing the alliance with the BJP in the state, which he struck in July last year after snapping ties with Grand Alliance partners RJD and Congress after a long partnership.

A senior JD(U) leader told DH that the party will vociferously demand the special status for Bihar “within the framework of NDA” and there is no thinking within the party to leave the alliance.

“We will surely raise the issue of the state. That we will do. We will heighten the pitch on that. But that does not mean we are breaking the alliance,” he said.

“We are not going to do a Chandrababu Naidu,” he said referring to the TDP leaving the NDA in April this year on the grounds that the Centre did not grant Andhra Pradesh special status despite a promise on the floor of Parliament during the bifurcation of the state.

Sources said the JD(U) decision to raise the decibel levels on the special status demand is part of a plan to counter the protest plans of the RJD under Tejashwi Yadav to corner JD(U). The RJD is cornering the JD(U) over the issue and putting pressure why Kumar does not manage to get the special category status and why he cannot do the way TDP did.

“We will hit the streets, we will organise protests. We will not leave the issue to some others. But we will be part of the NDA,” the leader said.

Kumar, who was then with Grand Alliance, was one of the first chief ministers to support Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s demonetisation drive. However, recently Kumar criticised the way in which it was executed, a comment which was read with much interest in the political circles.

Interestingly, Kumar’s moves to engage LJP chief Ram Vilas Paswan and RLSP’s Upendra Kushawaha was seen as a move to create a pressure group within the NDA ahead of the next Lok Sabha polls where 40 seats are up for grabs.