Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar on Tuesday said he will continue to raise the demand for the special category status for his state, the Hindustan Times reported. He said the issue remains a key concern and his party is committed to pursue the matter.
“It has remained an important agenda for us, since 2006,” the Janata Dal (United) leader said. “The demand has been unanimously endorsed by both Houses of the state legislature. Over one crore people have signed in support. The demand has been raised strongly and in a logical manner before the 15th Finance Commission. We have a clear view that a state like Bihar has a fit case.”
Kumar made the remarks before leaving for a meeting of the National Democratic Alliance leaders in New Delhi, called by Bharatiya Janata Party chief Amit Shah and Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Kumar’s party has been part of the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance since 1996, except for a four-year period from 2013 to 2017. In the recently-concluded Lok Sabha elections, the BJP and JD(U) contested 17 seats each in Bihar.
The special category status for Bihar has been a demand for Nitish Kumar since he came to power in the state in 2005. On Monday, JD(U) leader Bashistha Narain Singh had said that ensuring the special category state status for Bihar will remain the “main agenda for JD(U) during ensuing Assembly elections”. The state will go to polls in November 2020.
Kumar also said the BJP was aware that he differs with them on some of its key ideological demands, IANS reported. “We’ve always maintained Article 370 shouldn’t be scrapped, Uniform Civil Code shouldn’t be imposed, Ayodhya dispute should be resolved through mutual agreement or court’s intervention,” Kumar said. “We’ve maintained this since we first forged an alliance with BJP [in 1999].”
Abolishing the Article 370 of the Constitution, which gives Jammu and Kashmir a special status, is one of the main demands of the BJP, as is the introduction of a Uniform Civil Code and the construction of the Ram temple in Ayodhya.
Nitish Kumar said the BJP knows of his stand, and there was no dispute between the two parties.