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Key takeaways from JD(U) brass huddle: Sanjay Jha elevation; pitch for Bihar ‘special package’, quota law under 9th Schedule

The Janata Dal (United) national executive passed a resolution on Saturday, stressing on the need for a “special status” or “special package” for Bihar from the Centre to spur the state’s development.

The meeting, held in Delhi, was chaired by JD(U) president and Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar. The JD(U) is a key BJP ally in Bihar as well as at the Centre.

The conclave of the JD(U)’s apex body also decided to appoint Rajya Sabha MP Sanjay Jha, former state minister, as the party’s working president. This is a significant move in the run-up to the Bihar Assembly polls due in October-November next year.

While the JD(U) has been demanding a special status for Bihar for a long time and the issue has figured in its past resolutions as well, the addition of “special package” as an option this time is notable as it indicates that the party is willing to take a pragmatic approach on the issue, targeting what is “achievable”. It also shows that the party does not wish to push the Narendra Modi-led NDA government too hard as its major ally.

The JD(U)’s new working president, Sanjay Jha, denied that it was a “climbdown” from the party’s earlier demand of special status for Bihar.

“We all know that the Finance Commission has done away with the idea of special status (for states). The purpose is that Bihar must get central assistance, whatever be the name (of the package). We will now pursue it with the central government. The PM has been focused on the development of eastern India. We are hopeful that the Centre will consider our demand,” Jha told The Indian Express.

His appointment as Nitish Kumar’s No. 2 in the party is also significant as he is known to have good relations with the BJP and is likely to keep the NDA alliance in Bihar

Read more on indianexpress.com