Special Status to Bihar for Nitish’s Support, Cong Yields

After standing united with NDA in its rally in Ludhiana last week, Bihar CM Nitish Kumar, just a day before the counting of ballots, has said that special status for Bihar will be the deciding factor on who to support for the next government in the centre. In reaction, the Congress showed positiveness.

At a book release function in Patna, Nitish said that PM Manmohan Singh had earlier declined to consider giving Bihar special status and that he was still keeping his options open and his eyes on PM’s post. Conversation on possible next PM is still on, he says.

“At a time when every party and pre-poll alliance is claiming that it would form government in Delhi, I ask parties in Bihar to make it a pre-condition for support that whichever party or alliance comes to power will provide special category status to Bihar,” said Nitish.

Shortly after Nitish’s statement, AICC general secretary Digvijay Singh said that they were prepared to grant special status to Bihar. His statement assumes political importance keeping in mind Manmohand Singh’s earlier stand on the issue and Kumar’s readiness to back a coalition on fulfilment of his condition.

However, a story ruling out Bihar CM as a “consensus” candidate for PM’s rank is also doing the rounds in political circles.

At same time, formation of next government by the Third Front with the help of support from the Congress has become yet more doubtful with Telangana Rashtriya Samiti going over to the NDA and JD (S) also being in the list of “doubtful” supporters.

Moreover, with the Left parties coming out to support a Congress-led government and insisting on its own PM in a Third Front government if it is formed, the chances of Kumar’s being the PM candidate from the Third Front are dim.

In the midst of wooing by many parties, Kumar had, till now, maintained he was part of NDA which has projected L K Advani as Prime Minister.

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