As Bihar CM Nitish Kumar has joined hands with Prime Minister Narendra Modi, hopes of getting the special status for the state have soared.
As Bihar CM Nitish Kumar has joined hands with Prime Minister Narendra Modi, hopes of getting the special status for the state have soared. Nitish Kumar has been very vocal with his demand for special status for Bihar for years. During 2014 General Elections, Kumar had said he could extend support to any party to get special status for Bihar.
PM Modi had announced a Rs 1.25 lakh-crore special package for Bihar in 2015. While laying the foundation stone for a national highway project in Bihar, PM Modi had declared the special package. But until now, the promise does not appear to have borne any fruit, despite Kumar raising the issue with the Centre many-a-times since 2015. He even wrote a letter to PM Modi in May this year, saying that even though the state had achieved good growth, it lacked behind on many parameters like per capita income and industrialisation.
Here are the details of the special package:
Highways: Rs 54,713 crore
Petroleum and Gas: Rs 21,476 crore
Electricity: Rs 16,130 crore
Rural roads: Rs 13,820 crore
Railways: Rs 8,870 crore
Airports: Rs 2,700 crore
Farmer’s welfare: Rs 3,094 crore
Skill development: Rs 1,550 crore
Education: Rs 1,000 crore
Health: Rs 600 crore
Tourism: Rs 600 crore
Digital Bihar: Rs 440 crore
Now that both Nitish and Kumar are together, it is expected that funds under the package would be released at a fast pace, or Nitish may even make the Centre agree to his demand for a special state status for Bihar.
In 20 years, this is the first time when the government at the Centre and the state are being run by the same coalition. Within a span of few hours, Nitish dumped Grand Alliance of JD(U)-RJD-Congress and sided with BJP. Even the Prime Minister tweeted, congratulating the Bihar CM.
The new found love between Modi and Nitish has raised hopes that Bihar might now get increased focus from the Centre, especially after such high drama in the last two days.
In 2013, Nitish Kumar had ended a 17-year alliance with the BJP over its decision to promote Modi as its Prime Ministerial candidate. In 2015, he tied up with the Congress and former rival Lalu Yadav to block PM Modi from winning Bihar Assembly elections that year for the BJP. But now, the BJP-Nitish alliance is a return of the formidable social alliance of upper castes and non-Yadav OBCs that had relegated Lalu Prasad’s Muslim-Yadav combination to a meagre 22 Assembly seats in the 243-member Bihar House in the elections of 2010.
The previous Kumar-led NDA government in Bihar became quite popular because of the development work done in the state.
You may also like to watch this video of Nitish Kumar and Narendra Modi:
Last month, Nitish Kumar had abandoned his allies and other parties to side with the BJP for the election of President Ram Nath Kovind. He said the opposition which had formed an 18-party league was ‘in a mess’ thanks largely to the Congress. He had also broke ranks with the opposition to first support PM Modi’s sudden ban of high-value notes last year and again on the launch of the Goods and Services Tax or GST.