Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar on Wednesday asserted that he was not giving up on the demand for special category status for the state, distancing himself from a cabinet colleague who had recently averred that the ruling dispensation here was “tired" of making requests to the Centre. Kumar said this in reply to questions from journalists about the remarks of Bijendra Yadav, a senior minister and a former state president of the JD(U).
“The minister may have made an off-the-cuff remark. Special status for Bihar has been demanded by us in view of its developmental needs. Though we might not have made any headway, but we are not giving up," said Kumar who has been tirelessly raising the demand ever since Jharkhand was carved out in 2000. Yadav had recently expressed exasperation when reporters asked him about the demand for special status and said, “We are tired we cannot go on making the demand indefinitely." The chief minister interacted with journalists on the state legislature premises where he attended the swearing-in of newly elected JD(U) MLC Rozina Nazish and also inspected preparations for the proposed visit of President Ram Nath Kovind in October-end.
“The President will be arriving in Patna on October 20. A day later, he will take part in a function organised on the occasion of the centenary of this historical building," said Kumar who had famously got his party to vote for Kovind the NDA candidate — in the Presidential elections though he was then aligned with the Congress-RJD combine. The chief minister, who had recently led an all-party delegation from Bihar which met Prime Minister Narendra Modi to press the demand for caste census, was also asked about the course of action to be adopted by his government after the Centre having made clear that enumeration of OBCs the bone of contention was “administratively cumbersome".
“It was the Centre’s prerogative to take a call on our request. Now we will decide what we can do in the state. We will soon be convening an all-party meeting to discuss the matter," said Kumar who had earlier hinted that a Bihar-specific survey might be conducted by his government, as has been undertaken previously in some other states. He also smirked when asked about a letter written by leader of the opposition Tejashwi Yadav who has suggested that the CM once again lead an all-party delegation to meet the PM this time on the issue of recurring floods.
“Does he not know how much work is being done for flood-hit areas and people," said Kumar referring to his former deputy. “I wonder what type of letters these people write. These do not reach me and I get to know about these through reports in the media," he added.