New Delhi: The RJD on Friday ridiculed Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar for praising Finance Minister P Chidambaram for "revisiting the criteria for special status during his budget speech" and said there was no such proposal.

In a letter to Kumar, senior RJD leader Raghuvansh Prasad Singh said, "You have praised the Union budget for the mention of a proposal to change yardsticks for determining the development of states and a reference to Nalanda University. A serious look at the proposal betrays that you are mistaken."

He said the budget makes no reference to allotting any fund for Nalanda University and refers only to Centre's commitment to educational excellence for it. "There is a mention of new yardsticks for determining backwardness of a state while increasing the Centre's aid for backward areas. It's not about changing the yardsticks for granting special status to any state," Singh said.
The RJD leader also attached with the letter a reply by the Ministry of Planning in Lok Sabha on February 27 which said, "At present there is no proposal to review the norms relating to special category status to Bihar."

A number of MPs including Singh and some others from parties including BJP and JD-U had then posed the question whether there was a proposal to review the norms for providing special status to states.

Chidambaram's remarks on Thursday and Kumar welcoming them fuelled speculation about Congress and JD-U getting closer. "It seems there is some plan like this. Otherwise why should Nitish Kumar be so elated over a proposal, which even does not exist," Raghuvansh Singh said when asked whether he sees some possibility of Congress-JDU joining hands in future. Kumar, had, however, ruled out a political meaning of his lavish praise on Thursday itself saying no such conjecture should be made.


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