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Dal sneers at silence on special status

Patna, April 7: The JD(U) has ridiculed the BJP’s manifesto, saying it is devoid of any reference to special category for the state.

“All parties, including the BJP, had adopted a joint resolution in the Bihar Assembly supporting the demand for special category status to Bihar. The party’s manifesto has made it abundantly clear that the central BJP leadership has neither any place for Bihar nor for its state unit in its scheme of things,” state JD(U) chief Bashishtha Narayan Singh said.

Earlier, chief minister Nitish Kumar described the BJP’s manifesto as a “farce” on his Facebook page. “When the elections are under way, such an exercise is a farce. Can people of India resign their fate to a candidate who does not believe in democracy, debate and diversity?” Nitish wrote on Facebook.

Elaborating on what Nitish scribbled on his Facebook, Singh said the belated release of the manifesto had proved that the BJP had no vision for writing its manifesto. “The BJP was waiting for other parties to release their manifestos so that it could pick up some points from them to churn out its manifesto. Moreover, the delay has also established that there were differences among its senior leaders on several issues,” Singh said, warning the state’s electorate against Narendra Modi’s “attitude” towards Bihar in particular and backward states in general.

Modi had specifically announced at his Muzaffarpur and Purnea rallies in March that his party would accord “special category status, special package and special attention” to Bihar if the BJP came to power at the Centre. The party’s manifesto has no specific reference to Bihar.

“We shall give the highest priority towards bringing the eastern parts of the country on a par with the western parts. To that extent, there shall be special focus and emphasis on the development of the eastern side of India,” the manifesto released today says, without mentioning Bihar or for that matter other eastern states specifically.

Asked about the “omission”, senior BJP leader Sushil Kumar Modi too sounded defensive. “It is the party’s national manifesto which clearly talks about its commitment towards backward states. After forming its government, the party will come out with a specific package for Bihar,” Sushil Modi said. “Narendra Modi has specifically announced in his speech that Bihar would be accorded special category status, special package and special attention.”

Bashishtha Narayan Singh, however, attacked Sushil Modi and the state BJP for their “meek acquiescence” before the central leadership of the BJP outfit. “State BJP leaders who have all along supported the cause of special category status were too subdued to champion the state’s cause in the manifesto of the party led by Narendra Modi now,” Singh said.