Patna, Sept 21: Just a day after nationwide bandh on Thursday, Sept 20 Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar dared Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's government. Taking decision against the centre, Mr Kumar on Friday dropped diesel prices by 85 paise in Bihar.
The Central Government had recently increased diesel prices by Rs 5 per litre, excluding Value-Added Tax (VAT). Congress-led UPA government's decision of increasing fuel price was taken to reduce fuel subsidies. Diesel prices had shot upto Rs 50.80 per litre in Bihar following centre's move.
Mr Kumar on Friday began his tour in the state to highlight his demand of getting "special status" for Bihar, a demand which was overruled by Manmohan Singh's government earlier in 2012.
Bihar CM's decision to reduce diesel prices in the state may act as a major setback for UPA government as many other state governments may follow his path of creating pressure on the centre to take a decision on rollback of diesel prices.
Nitish Kumar has rubbed salt into UPA's wounds as the government has been facing trouble either from one of crucial ally Mamata Banerjee's Trinamool Congress (TMC) or from BJP-led NDA and other opposition who observed Bharat bandh on Thursday.
The opposition parties called for bandh protesting against UPA's decision of fuel price hike and Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) in retail. Extending UPA's woes, Mamata Banerjee also announced that her party will pull out support from UPA government. Ms Banerjee also demanded to increase subsidised LPG gas cylinders from 6 to 24 per household in a year. However, reports claimed that Congress-ruled states will provide 9 LPG cylinders to each household in a year.
On the flux at the Centre following withdrawal of support to the UPA government by TMC supremo Mamata Banerjee, Kumar said that his personal assessment was that the UPA government might not collapse as the Congress was good at managing numbers. "Congress ke log bahut jugadu hai ... ek jata hai to dusare ko pakad lete hai (Congress leaders are good at managing numbers, if one goes out then they catch someone else for support)," Nitish Kumar, whose party JD(U) is a crucial ally of NDA, said.