Nitish tries to mobilise public sentiment for special status

Nitish tries to mobilise public sentiment for special status

Munger (Bihar), Nov 25 (PTI) Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar on Saturday sought to mobilise public sentiment in favour of his proposed campaign to press the demand for granting special category status to the state.

The JD(U) leader underscored the need for special status at a function in Munger district to mark the inauguration of a government medical college and hospital, besides several other healthcare facilities.

Speaking in presence of his deputy Tejashwi Yadav and JD(U) president Rajiv Ranjan Singh 'Lalan', who is also the local MP, Kumar told the gathering that his government intended to undertake several steps for speedy development which would be facilitated by special status.

'A special status will benefit not just our SCs, STs and other backward classes, but also the poor among the upper castes. To put pressure on the Centre, I intend to launch a campaign. I hope you all are in support of such a campaign', said the longest-serving chief minister of Bihar.

Upon hearing a resounding 'yes' from the crowd, Kumar made them repeat their affirmation by standing up and raising their hands and, with a rhetorical flourish, added: 'I see many women out there sitting down. All of them are also requested to get up and raise their hands in support of the campaign'.

Kumar, who dumped the BJP last year and played a key role in the formation of the opposition INDIA coalition, has renewed the demand for special status ever since a comprehensive caste survey conducted by his government revealed that more than a third of the state’s people were living in abject poverty.

The government has since raised reservations for all deprived social groups and announced comprehensive measures for the alleviation of poverty which would incur an expenditure of approximately Rs 2.5 lakh crore.

Earlier this week, the state cabinet passed a resolution requesting the Centre to grant the special category status. This was followed by a statement from the CM, who claimed that with special status, Bihar will be able to accomplish its goals well ahead of the five-year deadline it has set for itself. PTI NAC NN

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