File photo of Jitan Ram Manjhi
The new Bihar Chief Minister Jitan Ram Manjhi has raised the issue of special category status for Bihar, the pet demand of his predecessor Nitish Kumar, with Prime Minister-designate Narendra Modi.
Mr Manjhi raised the issue of special category status for Bihar when Mr Modi had telephoned him after he was sworn-in as the Chief Minister succeeding Nitish Kumar. The new CM was addressing a section of media during an interaction late last evening.
"I had raised the demand for special status to Bihar when Narendra Modi had called to congratulate me after my swearing-in as the Chief Minister. The grant of special category to our state will go a long way in sending a good message among the poor," said Mr Manjhi.
Carrying forward the agenda of his predecessor, Mr Manjhi said if it was not fulfilled, a long agitation will be launched in the state.
Special category status had been prominently raised by Nitish Kumar. The issue also topped the agenda of JD(U) during the general elections.
Mr Kumar had organised two mega-rallies at Patna and New Delhi in support of special category status for Bihar. He had given the call for a one-day 'Bihar Bandh' when the UPA government had announced the special category status and special package for Seemandhra in the wake of the division of the state of Andhra Pradesh.
Narendra Modi, while campaigning for the Lok Sabha polls, had announced that if he came to power, he would provide 'special status', 'special package' and 'special attention' to Bihar and other Northeastern states for their better development.
Mr Manjhi also said he has been invited to the swearing-in ceremony of Mr Modi as the Prime Minister on May 26 at Rashtrapati Bhawan in New Delhi.
"I have got the invite sent by the Prime Minister's Office (PMO) for Modi's swearing-in function. I will take a decision soon," Mr Manjhi told reporters.