Nitish praise a signal to UPA?

Sensing that the BJP was working towards projecting Gujarat chief minister Narenda Modi as its face for the 2014 general elections, Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar has sent a tacit signal to the UPA by openly praising finance minister P. Chidambaram’s Budget.
The stage perhaps was earlier set as the finance minister in his Budget speech took a dig at Mr Modi and went ahead to woo the JD(U). He gave thumbs-up to the Bihar chief minister’s pet project Nalanda University.
The rift between the BJP and JD(U) had been growing after the saffron forces have been trying to project Mr Modi as the possible face for the Lok Sabha polls.
Speculation is rife that the BJP’s national executive, which began Friday, could possible signal Mr Modi’s elevation.
Sources disclosed that Mr Nitish Kumar has been keeping his options open and has not been “harsh” against UPA policies.
Moreover, the Congress, which is its nadir in Bihar, is desperately seeking a “strong alliance”, sources said.
In his Budget speech, the finance minister, while taking a dig at Mr Modi, said: “A country’s most important resource is its people. We have examples of states growing at a fast rate but leaving behind women, the Scheduled Castes, the Scheduled Tribes, the minorities and some backward classes.” Without naming Gujarat, he made it categorically clear that the UPA “does not accept that model”.
Sending a feeler to the Bihar chief minister, Mr Chidambaram then went on to back the Nalanda University project. “The reconstruction of the Nalanda University has gathered momentum. The government is committed to the creation of Nalanda University as a centre of educational excellence.”
Bihar was also praised for increase in rice production.
It was then Mr Kumar’s turn to return the favour. “The finance minister has now acknowledged in the Budget that there was a case for revisiting the existing criteria so that new parameters were set for identifying backward states like Bihar extending some policy support. This is a big victory of the people of Bihar who have waging a relentless battle for the special category status demand,” he said and added: “I am glad that the finance minister said that he will revisit the criteria for special status.”

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