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BJP plans to hijack special status idea

Patna, Sept. 4: The BJP aims to snatch the agenda of special status to Bihar from chief minister Nitish Kumar, though it maintains the tag would not change the state’s industrial scene.

Former deputy chief minister Sushil Kumar Modi said the BJP would announce at its October 27 Hunkar rally that it would accord special status to Bihar if it came to power at the Centre in 2014. Narendra Modi would be the star speaker at the Gandhi Maidan rally.

“However, chief minister Nitish Kumar is misleading Bihar by projecting special status as a solution to all its problems. The real picture should be presented before the people,” Sushil Modi said. “The northeastern states were given special status in 1969. Jammu and Kashmir was given special status in 1960. Himachal Pradesh got it in 1971. It did not lead to industrialisation there,” Modi said.

The states given special status got different incentives. “Investors were given 100 per cent income tax exemption in the northeastern states and Jammu & Kashmir. Himachal Pradesh was accorded 100 per cent exemption for the first five years and 30 per cent for the next five,” he said. Also, both in the Northeast and in Jammu and Kashmir, 3 per cent of working capital was given to investors as subsidy.

Sushil Modi even pointed to a negative impact of according special status to Bihar. Investors would not get any benefit for setting up rice mills, flourmills, cement, asbestos or tobacco units. “In Bihar, rice and flour mills are virtually the thrust area,” he said.