Another Chief Minister on dharna, this time Nitish Kumar in Patna for special status for Bihar

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Another Chief Minister on dharna, this time Nitish Kumar in Patna for special status for Bihar
Patna:  Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar today sat on a five-hour-long dharna at Patna's Gandhi Maidan demanding special status for the state.

The Centre's announcement to grant special status to Seemandhra - the region of Andhra Pradesh that will form the residuary state once Telangana is carved out - prompted Mr Kumar to call for a dawn-to-dusk bandh.

"When the government wanted, they gave special status within 24 hours (to Seemandhra). But with us they are biased. Now it is a matter of self-respect and pride for us. What parameters were followed for giving special category status to Seemandhra? We will not tolerate this and so in spite of being the chief minister, we decided to call a bandh," said Mr Kumar.   

He said the special status was essential for the development of an economically backward state like Bihar.

"Those states who have got special status have developed. We have the highest growth rate in the country. Yet we need 25 years to match up to government standards. I have no idea why the Raghuram Rajan Committee report was put into cold storage. Then we decided we'd make special status an electoral issue," the chief minister added.

Earlier in the day, he led a protest march from his residence to the Gandhi Maidan - a distance of 6 km - where he accused the Congress-led government at the Centre of neglecting Bihar.

After the call given by the Chief Minister, hundreds of ruling Janata Dal (United) workers disrupted train services and blocked roads at many places in Bihar today to enforce the shutdown.

According to the police, JD(U) supporters halted over half a dozen long-distance trains, and as a result, passengers were stranded at Patna, Gaya, Jehanabad, Bhagalpur, Nalanda and Darbhanga railway stations.

Buses, trucks and other vehicles kept off the roads.

After today's bandh, Mr Kumar will undertake a statewide tour starting March 5, as he prepares to make the special category status demand a big part of his Lok Sabha poll campaign.


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