| BJP leader Sushil Kumar Modi addresses the news meet in Patna on Thursday. Picture by Deepak Kumar |
BJP leader Sushil Kumar Modi on Thursday said chief minister Nitish Kumar had tried to mislead the Union government and the people of the state to accept his demand for special status.
A great advocate of the special status demand for Bihar (which Nitish has been seeking since 2005) during his stint as the deputy chief minister of the NDA government, Modi seems have undergone a change of soul. On Friday, he said his former boss had provided incorrect facts and figures to convince Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and the people of the state to support the demand.
Quoting the inter-ministerial group headed by Planning Commission member-secretary Sudha Pillai, Modi said: “Pillai had said that facts and figures submitted by Nitish demanding special category status is not correct. By submitting false documents, Nitish has not only tried to mislead Manmohan Singh but also attempted to fool the people of Bihar.”
JD(U) had submitted the memorandum demanding special category status when BJP was in the NDA government. Modi said his party had not challenged the memorandum since they were allies.
The former deputy chief minister said the Nitish Kumar-led government has been claming that if Bihar gets the special status, its share in the centrally sponsored scheme would be reduced but a study of parameters of special status category reveals that there would be no such change.
“The government has been claiming that after getting the special category status, the Centre-state share would come down to 90:10 from the present 70:30 ratio,” said Modi.
At present, the state government spends around Rs 4,000 crore in execution of Centre-funded schemes such as Indira Awas Yojana, Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan, Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act, National Rural Livelihood Mission and others.
The Centre-state ratio differs from scheme to scheme in the 14 centrally funded programmes.
Modi said the 11 states, which have been accorded with the special status tag — Jammu and Kashmir, Uttarakhand, Himachal Pradesh and the Northeast — have different parameters for getting funds under Centre-sponsored schemes.
While Jammu and Kashmir get 90 per cent funding for some schemes, Uttaranchal and Himachal Pradesh get assistance like other states without special status.
Citing the example of Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan, under which the state government contributes around Rs 2,000 crore, Modi said: “By reading the parameters, we have come to know that only the northeastern states get 90 per cent assistance in this scheme, while Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh and Uttaranchal get funds according to 65:35 ratio, like other states.”
Modi said BJP was not against Bihar getting the special status but the government should not beg for it. “Special status is the right of Bihar. It is not a favour,” he said.