The byelection is being tipped as a litmus test for both Chief Minister Nitish Kumar and senior RJD leader Tejaswi Yadav, who is trying to project himself as a formidable leader commanding full support of his party's leaders and workers when his father and RJD Chief Lalu Prasad is behind bars following his conviction in yet another case of fodder scam. "Does Nitish not want special status or is the BJP opposed to it?"
RJD leaders also referred to a letter which Tejashwi had sent to Bihar CM urging him to raise the issue with Prime Minister.
A tweet from jailed Lalu Prasad Yadav's official Twitter handle accused JD (U) president Nitish Kumar of "surrendering Bihar's benefits" for "personal gains" by not asking Narendra Modi to accord special status to Bihar, as he had promised during a rally before Lok Sabha elections of 2014. But he did not even reply to my letter.
Accusing Kumar of remaining silent on issues such as vandalism of statues and alleged insult to women leaders like Mayawati and Renuka Chowdhury, the opposition party has warned the government of launching an agitation, if the chief minister failed to raise his voice on the issue of special status.More news: India slams Pak habit of misuising UN Human Rights Council
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The RJD found support from an unexpected quarter as JD (U) general secretary Pavan Kumar Verma also raised the issue saying it was an old demand from the state. JD (U) had led a long, clamorous campaign for special state status.
While the RJD and its allies pulled out all stops to woo the electorate, the BJP-led NDA made a determined bid to demolish the Muslim-Yadav (M-Y) combine, known to be traditional voters of the RJD. He also attacked the RJD for its criticism of the ban on sale and consumption of alcohol, saying "When we introduced prohibition and organized a state-wide human chain, they stood beside us holding our hands". Today Andhra Pradesh is at the same place where Bihar was after its bifurcation. "But there appears to be a big difference between the chief ministers of the two states", RJD national spokesman Manoj Jha told reporters here.
He asked Mr Kumar why he did not put enough pressure on Prime Minister Narendra Modi to offer special status to Bihar. "Bihar can not develop in the true sense of the word unless it gets special state status", he said.