New Delhi: Bihar
Chief Minister Nitish Kumar Sunday brought his political fight to
the national capital and demanded special status for his backward
state, while laying bare his ambitions for a national role.
"Change the criteria to give special status to Bihar. We have been
told that we do not meet all qualifications for getting special
status," Nitish Kumar urged the central government while
addressing a huge crowd of around a lakh people at his "Adhikar
Rally" at the Ramlila Maidan here.
Pitching himself for a national role ahead of the 2014 general
elections, Nitish Kumar did not hide his prime ministerial
ambitions, saying: "Only those who understand the pain of the poor
and the backward must rule Delhi."
"Bihar has been neglected. We are not begging for grants, it is
our right. If you don't give it now, you will have to give it in
2014," he said, as if speaking to the government at the centre.
The chief minister said his demand would not only benefit Bihar,
but also other backward regions of the country.
"If backward regions start developing, it will push up the
national growth rate. We want development for all," Nitish Kumar
He also referred to union Finance Minister P. Chidambaram's budget
2013-14 speech in parliament, noting that it talked about the need
to revisit the criteria for granting special category status to
Though it was his second rally over the special status issue, this
was the first show of strength by the Janata Dal-United leader in
The rally is significant as it is a solo JD-U show with no traces
of the Bharatiya Janata Party, its ruling coalition partner in
"If you see the per capita income, we are just a little more than
one-third of national per capita income and have the lowest per
capita income. Roads, railways, and other infrastructure are below
average. The per capita expenditure for development is half of
national average... all human development indices are lower,"
Nitish Kumar said.
"Do we not have the right to develop, to generate employment in
Bihar? We have the right to development, we have been ignored," he
said, playing on regional identity.
He said the criteria for giving special status to states should be
changed so that Bihar can develop.
"If we get special status, we can also become one of the developed
states," he said.