Patna: LJP chief Ramvilas Paswan on Monday said Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar's demand for special category status to the state was aimed at mobilising mass support to strenghthen his case for being projected as NDA's Prime Ministerial candidate in the 2014 general elections.

"It (the demand) is an open secret ... It is part of a larger game plan (by Nitish Kumar) to see himself as a front runner for NDA's prime ministerial candidate that Kumar has conceived the special status issue and set out on 'Adhikar yatra' on September 19 to woo the masses to elect his candidates in the next general elections," Paswan said.

He criticised  Kumar for his alleged inconsistent stand on the special status issue and said he had opposed the demand when it was raised by RJD-led government after bifurcation of Bihar in 2000.

Kumar, who was then serving as the Railway Minister in the erstwhile NDA government at the Centre, had opposed the special status demand on the ground that there was no need for it and the special package given then would be sufficient to address the development deficit in Bihar, he said.

The LJP chief demanded a debate in public on the special status issue. "Kumar will then stand exposed on the issue."

He urged Congress, RJD and CPI(M) to expose Kumar to the people for his inconsistent stand on the special status issue and his political game plan behind his state-wide tour to solicit public support to his demand.

LJP, he said, would launch a state-wide campaign after Diwali to expose Kumar's alleged 'hidden' political agenda and 'double standards'.  

Paswan lashed out at Kumar for wasting public money on Adhikar Yatras to create awareness among the people of the special category demand and said National Development Council and Parliament were appropriate fora to raise it but neither he nor NDA MPs had done it so far.

He also flayed the Chief Minister for deploying excessive securitymen at his public meeting venues.

On FDI in retail, Paswan slammed BJP for adopting double standards on the issue and said the party had proposed 100 percent FDI in retail during the NDA rule at the Centre but had now 'conveniently retracted'.

Defending the UPA government's decision to allow 51 percent in multi-brand retail, he said farmers would get fair price of their produces and the middlemen's role would be wiped out when the multi-national retailers set up their shops in the country.


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