Observing that the Raghuram Rajan panel report has crushed Bihar's aspiration for special status, former deputy chief minister Sushil Kumar Modi today ridiculed Chief Minister Nitish Kumar for celebrating the report despite his nominee on the panel having registered a strong note of dissent.
"I wonder as to why the Chief Minister and his party - the JD(U) - burst firecrackers and celebrated the Raghuram Rajan panel report which has crushed Bihar's aspiration for special status by rejecting the very concept of Special Category States (SCS)," he told reporters.
Even Shaibal Gupta, who was made a member of the Raghuram Rajan panel at the behest of the Chief Minister, has registered a 10-page note of dissent to protest undermining of Bihar's case for grant of special status by framing new criteria to assess backwardness of the states, Modi said.
Bihar also stood to gain less than other states in devolution of additional financial assistance from the centre based on the recommendations of the Raghuram Rajan panel report which has not given weightage to per capita income in laying down new criteria of backwardness, he said.
"In the backdrop of the panel's classification of states in three new categories with Bihar listed in second position from below in the list of ten least developed states and the panel recommending additional assistance to such states for development instead of grant of special status, the Chief Minister owed an explanation to the people as to how he proposed to carry forward his pet political agenda when the road ahead has been firmly shut", he said.
"What happens to your stated position that you will not settle for anything less that grant of special category status?" Modi asked the Chief Minister.
On the Chief Minister welcoming the Raghuram Rajan panel report on the ground that Bihar's hope for special status remained alive, the senior BJP leader said that the former has done so to make an excuse for a future electoral tie up with the Congress.
Stating that the BJP favoured grant of special status to Bihar in view of development deficit, Modi asked the Centre to reject the Raghuram Rajan panel report and set up another committee to frame afresh new criteria for identification of backwardness of the states.
He also hit out at the JD(U) for hobnobbing with the Congress at the national level and alleged that two JD(U) MPs - Sharad