Bihar Status: Is Nitish Kumar's Political Move Dangerous to India's Future?

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By Raymond Ronamai | March 19, 2013 2:33 PM EST

Bihar Chief Minister and Janata Dal (United) leader Nitish Kumar has made it clear to major political parties in the country that his party would go to any extent, including a switch in alliance, if Bihar is given "special status". But his political move could be seen as dangerous, given the fact that the country has many regional parties, which could resort to similar tactics in the future.

Nitish Kumar told a huge gathering at Adhikar Rally in Delhi on Sunday that the support of his party will be crucial in the formation of government at the centre next year and hinted that JD(U) would join with any party that is willing to fulfil its demand. JD(U) is a part of National Democratic Alliance (NDA) led by Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).

The CM also met Finance Minister P Chidambaram and Planning Commission Deputy Chairman Montek Singh Ahluwalia on Monday amid speculation that he would support the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance (UPA) if it is willing to give special status to Bihar. He had earlier praised Chidambaram's Union Budget, especially for the funds allocated to his state, while BJP leaders in his alliance took exception to his words.

However, Nitish Kumar's new political move could be dangerous in a pluralistic society such as India, where a regional party exists in almost every state.

If Nitish succeeds in his bargain for a 'special status' for Bihar by offering support to any government, other regional parties like Telugu Desam Party (Andhra Pradesh), Jammu & Kashmir National Conference (Jammu & Kashmir), Janata Dal Secular (Karnataka), Nagaland Peoples Front (Nagaland), Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam and All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (Tamil Nadu), All India Trinamool Congress (West Bengal) and others would adopt similar tactics.

The Bihar CM has made it clear that his party is willing to join any alliance at Centre to get its demand fulfilled, though it is not clear whether UPA or NDA will get the bait.

Nitish Kumar had said at a rally on Sunday that his state has been neglected all these years and now wants a government at the centre that fulfills its interest.

"Either you give it (special status) now or after 2014, you will have to give it. You will have to accept the demand in circumstances that will be there after 2014. Only one, who feels about the backward, the backward states will occupy the seat of power in Delhi," the CM told the crowd.

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