Patna, Oct 29: Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley on Thursday dismissed Chief Minister Nitish Kumar's pitch for special status for Bihar saying it is no longer relevant after the constitutional award by the 14th Finance Commission for sharing of tax resources between the Centre and the states.
"Special status ka daur samapt ho chuka hai (the era of special status in over)," Jaitley told a press conference here. He said that the 14th Finance Commmission had come up with constitutional award for states and fixed a formula for sharing of tax revenues between the Centre and the states.
Referring to Bihar, Jaitley said that Prime Minister Narendra Modi had already announced Rs 1.25 lakh crore special package for the state in addition to Rs 40,000 crore for completion of the ongoing infrastructure projects.
"Over and above that, we want to give more to Bihar," the Union minister said. The special development package of Rs 1.65 lakh crore would benefit Bihar a lot in years to come, Jaitley said and criticised the state government's negative attitude for describing it as "repackaging of old schemes."
If the special package was repackaging in anyway, the state government should ask the Congress as to why those projects were not implemented, he said.
The Congress government was in power when those projects were conceived for Bihar, but not implemented. Now that the same party was part of the grand alliance, Chief Minister Nitish Kumar should question it about non-implementation of those projects, he said.
Jaitley, who is widely credited to have worked from behind the scenes to script the NDA's victory in the past two Assembly polls in Bihar, claimed that the BJP-led coalition was heading towards a landslide victory this time.
He said given his past experience he could see a uniform pattern of massive support in NDA's favour in all three phases for which polls had been held so far and he had reasons to believe that the same trend would continue in the remaining two phases.
He said Prime Minister Narendra Modi's popularity and the trust of people of Bihar in his leadership had swung the mood in the BJP-led coalition's favour at the hustings.
The people here wanted a government which could work in harmony with the Centre and capitalize all opportunities for development of Bihar post-announcement of Rs 1.65 lakh crore package for the state by the Prime Minister two months ago, he said.