Capitalising on the political flux at the Centre, Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar has promised support to any party that grants the state a special status. And to add on to pressure, he will be embarking on a statewide roadshow on Monday. It has been called the Adhikar Yatra. So what started out as a demand through press conferences and official letters to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has now been taken out on to the streets, and turned into a public movement.
“Bihar ke 40 sansado ke bina Delhi main koi sarkar nahi banegi, yaad rakhiyega isko. (Without Bihar’s 40 MPs, no government can be formed at the Centre. Remember that.)”
The above statement has now become an oft-repeated warning that the Bihar CM rolls out to the Centre for granting his demand.
“Special status milne se Bihar ka bhala hoga, rozgaar badhega, paisa ayega… (Special status will be good for Bihar. It will create more employment opportunities and inject more money into the system.)” he adds.
For the past few days, he has been touring the state and mobilising people to participate in his party, the Janata Dal (United)’s first mass rally since it came to power.
Nitish has cited perennial problems such as flood and drought as the reason for his demand for special status.
Although Nitish has called it the Adhikar Yatra, it’s more of a pressure-building rally; A political movement to make it amply clear that he would not let the issue of special status to Bihar die down and would take political advantage on this very issue in elections to come.
Nitish’s agenda has put rival Lalu Prasad of the Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) on the back foot. As a politician from Bihar, he cannot afford to oppose this movement, which is perceived as pro-people.
In the end, whether Bihar gets the special state status or not, Nitish’s political rivals are going to bear the brunt of his new campaign.