Nitish and Modi join hands, ditch Grand Alliance: After 20 years, Centre-state unity may help Bihar get special status

After twenty years, the same coalition is ruling the Centre as well as in Bihar. It all happened on Wednesday within a span of four hours, when Nitish Kumar broke ranks with RJD-Congress Grand Alliance and sided with old ally Bharatiya Janata Party.

With Nitish taking oath as the chief minister of the state for the sixth time, hopes are high of getting special status for Bihar. The demand of special status is so dear to Nitish that he publicly announced, during the 2014 general elections (when He had already parted ways with the BJP), that his party was ready to extend support to any party which agrees to this demand.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced a special package of Rs 1.25 lakh crore for the state in the run-up to the Bihar Assembly election campaign in 2015 but did not quite fulfil his promise. Nitish raised this demand with Modi on various occasions in the last two and half years. His latest appeal to Modi in this regard came on 27 May, 2017. In a three page letter to Modi, Nitish said even after achieving double digit growth rate in past several years Bihar is still behind the national average on major developmental parameters such poverty line, per capita income, industrialisation, and social and physical infrastructure.

"Awarding special category will ensure greater share in centrally sponsored schemes which will put the state on the faster growth trajectory," he wrote.

Nitish's JD(U) even alleged that the NDA government was ignoring their leader's demand because Modi had a personal grudge against the chief minister.

Now, this is all history.

Nitish is back in the NDA's fold and Modi has congratulated him for his fight against corruptiona and after he was sworn in as the chief minister on Thursday. BJP president Amit Shah tweeted saying Nitish and Modi will take Bihar to newer heights.

This is the first time after 1998 that the same coalition is at the helm of affairs in Bihar and at the Centre. During united front government, led by HD Devegowda and IK Gujaral, Bihar was governed by RJD party chief Lalu Prasad Yadav, who was a partner in the ruling coalition in Delhi.

Equations changed after NDA was elected to power under the leadership of Atal Bihari Vajpayee. In 2005, when Nitish-led NDA came to power in Bihar, Congress-led UPA was at the helm in the Centre. This mismatch continued almost for a decade, until 2014. When Modi trounced the elections in 2014 with a thumping mandate, it gave concerned parties hope that the Centre-state mismatch would end, but Nitish decided against riding that wave and swapped sides with the RJD-Congress coalition. The Mahagathbandhan won him the 2015 Assembly elections with a thumping majority.

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Updated Date: Jul 27, 2017 15:25:00 IST