The much anticipated meeting between Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar and his West Bengal counterpart Mamata Banerjee did not materialise in Kolkata on Friday as Kumar’s flight “got delayed by fog”. “There was delay in my arrival at Kolkata because of fog. I could not meet Mamataji. This is my first Kolkata visit after I became the Chief Minister. I will meet her some other time,” Kumar told mediapersons.
The scheduled Mamata-Nitish rendezvous had fuelled speculations about a new alignment of political forces in the country in the run-up to the next Lok Sabha elections.
Both the leaders, who were supposed to meet on the sidelines of a business conclave, reportedly spoke to each other over phone.
At the conclave, Kumar spoke about the special package he has been asking for his state from the Centre. Raising the issue of “deprived states” — an issue that binds him and Mamata — Kumar said the argument he has made while demanding special status for Bihar is also applicable to other backward states.
“The clauses and arguments we have put forward to the Centre for our demand for special status are equally valid for the other backward states.”
His remarks clearly aimed at wooing Mamata, who too has been demanding a special package from the Centre.
Kumar said he has mentioned names of few other states which are backward and deprived, though he did not reveal the names of the states. The backward states have their own problems which are mostly regional, but they can go forward with their own demand, Kumar said.
Kumar also slammed the UPA government saying the way the “jugadu government” was “collecting numbers, it seems that it would run its full course”.