Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar on Monday said he had not given up the demand for a special status for Bihar “for even one second” since raising the matter with the Prime Minister’s Office in 2005, PTI reported. He said that in 2006, his Janata Dal (United) had even got a resolution on the matter passed in the Assembly.

“I am amused to see those who were never concerned about the issue have suddenly started questioning my silence,” he told reporters at the Janata Dal (United) headquarters in Patna. He said the government of Bihar would raise the matter before the 15th Finance Commission.

“Special status is a need for Bihar,” Kumar said. “We will work towards ensuring that it is fulfilled. But we are not going to issue statements about the matter every now and then. We have always placed interests of the voters above their votes, unlike our detractors.”

The chief minister was responding to the Rashtriya Janata Dal’s threat to hit the streets if the government fails to “speak up” like the Telugu Desam Party of Andhra Pradesh. “The effect of the bifurcation of Andhra Pradesh was similar to the impact of the bifurcation of Bihar [in 2000],” Rashtriya Janata Dal Spokesperson Manoj Jha had said on March 15. “But there appears to be a big difference between the chief ministers of the two states.”

‘Lalu Prasad Yadav not being framed’

Kumar declined to comment on the conviction of Rashtriya Janata Dal chief Lalu Prasad Yadav in the fourth fodder scam case. He dismissed the allegation that the former chief minister of Bihar and his family members were being “framed” in corruption cases.

“When we were sharing power in Bihar, they said the same thing,” Kumar said. “I had said this could convince only hardcore supporters.”