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Nitish Kumar calls bandh over special status for Bihar

Chief Ministers on protest is becoming a 2014 trend. After Arvind Kejriwal and Kiran Kumar Reddy, Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar has now called a bandh in his state to protest against the Centre.

Mr. Kumar is miffed that while the Centre was quick in announcing special status for Seemandhra – the region of Andhra Pradesh that will form the residuary state once Telangana is carved out – it has not accepted Bihar’s longstanding demand for a similar grant.

Appealing to all political parties to strike work on March 1 in a state-wide protest against the UPA government’s “betrayal,” Mr. Kumar said, “We don’t mind Seemandhra getting special status, but Bihar has been waiting for special status for long.”

Soon after he ended his alliance with the BJP last year, Mr. Kumar was seen as cosying up to the Congress with an eye on a possible partnership for the general elections due by May.

But the Congress, which rules at the Centre, is more inclined to partner with his arch rival Lalu Prasad Yadav of the Rashtriya Janata Dal.

Mr. Kumar is the third chief minister to publicly protest this year. In January, Arvind Kejriwal, then Chief Minister of Delhi, led a dharna in the heart of the capital against the Delhi police and the Centre.

Earlier this month, Andhra Pradesh chief minister Kiran Kumar Reddy sat on a ‘dharna’ at Jantar Mantar in protest against the move to bifurcate his state to create the Telangana state.

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