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Bihar CM Nitish blames Centre for failure to attend Niti Aayog meet

The JD(U) leader, whose party is boycotting the inauguration of the new Parliament building on Sunday, dubbed the function as an attempt to change history

Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar

Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar

Press Trust of India Patna

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Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar on Saturday blamed the Centre for his inability to attend the Niti Aayog meeting on Saturday where he wished to raise issues like caste census and special status for the state.
The JD(U) leader, whose party is boycotting the inauguration of the new Parliament building on Sunday, dubbed the function as an attempt to change history by those who had made no contributions to the freedom struggle.
Kumar, who was speaking to reporters on the sidelines of a function to mark the death anniversary of first prime minister Jawaharlal Nehru, said, When I received the schedule of the Niti Aayog meet I sought a change in the timings since it clashed with the function here.
We have respected Pandit Nehru since our childhood, though politically I have pursued a different line, said the veteran socialist leader, who now has the Congress as an ally.
They (the Centre), however, did not agree to change the timing of the Niti Aayog meeting. Had they even agreed to hold the meeting in the afternoon, I would have been able to attend.
"We sent a few other names who could represent the state, which too was turned down. So, Bihar remained unrepresented, Kumar said.
He continued, "I was amazed to read in papers today that five other states have been deprived of attendance at the Niti Aayog meet for one reason or the other.
Kumar said, Had I been at the meeting, I would have definitely raised the issue of caste census, pointed out the legal hurdles that hit the survey we undertook at the state level. After all, we conducted the survey only after the Centre said it will not conduct a caste census but states were free to hold a headcount.
I would also have raised the long-standing issue of a special status (to Bihar) and the need for greater central assistance to poor states, said Kumar, now a votary of opposition unity.
To questions on the inauguration of the new Parliament building, which is being boycotted by the opposition parties with the demand that President Droupadi Murmu and not Prime Minister Narendra Modi inaugurate the new premises, he asserted First of all, there was no need for a new Parliament building.
Kumar had been a Lok Sabha member for several terms in the past.
Without mentioning the BJP or Modi by name, he said, Those in power nowadays have no respect for history. This is an attempt to change history by those who made no contribution to the freedom struggle.
Asked to comment on the scrapping of Rs 2,000 notes, Kumar, who had supported demonetisation in 2016, said I fail to understand what they are trying to achieve. After invalidating the old Rs 1,000 notes, they should have brought in new ones. But they introduced Rs 2,000 notes. Now they are withdrawing these too. Only they can say what is their intention.
The Bihar chief minister said, The media too is not unfettered now and hence cannot ask probing questions about government's steps like it used to do in the past.
About the much-awaited meeting of Opposition parties which is expected to be held in Bihar, Kumar said he has discussed the issue with most of the Opposition leaders and will inform the exact date at an appropriate time.
Kumar's counterpart in Bengal, Mamata Banerjee had asked him to hold a meeting of Opposition parties in Patna at the end of May.

(Only the headline and picture of this report may have been reworked by the Business Standard staff; the rest of the content is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

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First Published: May 27 2023 | 5:08 PM IST

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