The Telegraph
Sunday , February 23 , 2014
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Nitish turns down Modi support offer

Patna, Feb. 22: Chief minister Nitish Kumar today turned down the BJP’s offer to support the JD(U)’s March 2 bandh to secure special category status on the condition that the latter support the rail roko stir on February 28.

“We have nothing to do with the BJP. It is an independent political party. But they (BJP) have kept on prevaricating on the demand of special category status to Bihar,” Nitish said.

The chief minister clarified that he had asked people to extend their support to the March 2 Bihar bandh to show to the world that the state was united in its long pending demand for the special status.

Explaining his decision to extend the date of the bandh from March 1 to March 2, Nitish said: “We are sensitive people. We extended the date of the rally for a day when we found that CBSE exams were commencing from March 1.”

“If Seemandhra can get the status in a day, why can’t Bihar, which is extremely backward and lying low on all indicators of development, cannot get it despite agitating for the same for years?” he asked.

Earlier in the day, senior BJP leader Sushil Kumar Modi had said: “We will consider supporting the chief minister sponsored bandh if the JD(U) decides to support our Rail Roko agitation to press for the special status to Bihar.”

On why the BJP was not responding to Nitish’s call from all parties to support his bandh, Sushil said: “Nitish should have called a meeting of all the parties to solicit their support ahead of announcing the bandh.”

He added: “He announced it unilaterally to score a point over other political parties rather than making a genuine move to secure special category status for the state.”

Dharna called off

Former BJP ministers Giriraj Singh and Ramadhar Singh today terminated their dharna after JD(U) member Manjit Singh expressed regret over his allegations yesterday.

Nitish said: “I feel saddened at my two former ministerial colleagues sitting on dharna. There is a proper procedure to make allegations in the House, which the members should follow.”

Manjit said: “I regret if my words had hurt the feelings of the two members.”

The Speaker cancelled the proposed special debate on the law and order in the wake of Leader of Opposition Nand Kishore Yadav being unavailable to move the proposal. RJD legislature party leader Abdul Bari Siddiqui who was the second mover of the proposal for debate too withdrew his proposal, prompting the Speaker to announce adjournment of House sine die.