| Nitish Kumar addresses the news meet in Patna on Thursday. Picture by Deepak Kumar |
Patna, Feb. 27: Chief minister Nitish Kumar today announced a Sankalp Yatra from Champaran, Mahatma Gandhi’s karmbhoomi, from March 5 to carry out his campaign against the Centre denying Bihar the special category status.
The Election Commission is likely to notify the Lok Sabha polls by then. It clearly means that Nitish has charted out the plan to make the special status to the state the primary issue of his poll campaign. “The Centre accorded Seemandhra the special status in a day, pouring salt on the wounds of Bihar which has got its long struggle for the same ignored,” Nitish told reporters at his 1 Aney Marg residence.
Nitish concluded his two-month Sankalp rallies at Didarganj on February 16. He is all set to morph his Sankalp Yatra for the special status into the campaign of his JD(U) for the ensuing general elections.
He also unveiled his model for the “special status” campaign in the run-up to the Bihar bandh on March 2 on Mahatma Gandhi’s non-cooperation movement. “The people all across the state will bring out torchlight procession on February 28 evening,” he said, adding: “The women in all the villages, towns and cities have been requested to come out from homes and beat the platters for five minutes from 7pm to 7.05 pm.”
The jingle of platter beating will eventually draw the ears of the Centre turning Nelson’s eyes on Bihar’s demand, he said, adding: “Our party has decided to ensure a self-inspired shutdown in Bihar on March 2. I appeal to the people to shut their work on that day on their own and come out in peaceful procession to express their anger over their neglect by the Centre. We are not going to use force for enforcing the bandh.”
The CPI state secretary, U.N. Mishra, and CPM leader Sarvoday Sharma were in attendance with Nitish in support of the bandh. It also indicated that the JD(U) and the Left have agreed to forge an alliance for the general elections in the state.
Nitish attacked the RJD chief, Lalu Prasad, again, saying: “The fire that has engulfed the RJD has been caused by a short-circuit in its own home. Instead of correcting the rag tag wiring in his home, Lalu is attacking me. He should find the reason for the short-circuit in his own house and correct it.”
Nitish, while denying that he had played any role in the split of the RJD, said: “The leaders are fleeing from the RJD. If they come our way, we will welcome them. There is neither anything unusual nor wrong if the leaders change the preference of their parties during the election season. We too have some of our party leaders crossing over to others.”
In a way, he strongly indicated that he would keep on “fishing in the troubled waters” of the RJD.
However, asked that Speaker Uday Narayan Chaudhary had created a separate group of 13 RJD MLAs in violation of provision of the anti-defection laws, Nitish said: “The Speaker is the only authority to explain this issue.”