Nitish, Jaitley meet after ad controversy

Bihar CM Nitish Kumar on Sunday met Arun Jaitley in a bid to repair the strain in the coalition.

Patna: Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar on Sunday met Arun Jaitley and other BJP leaders at party`s state unit chief CP Thakur`s residence here in a bid to repair the
strain in the coalition following publication of an advertisement.

Kumar held discussions with the top BJP leadership comprising Jaitley, the central in-charge of the state unit Ananth Kumar, his Deputy Dharmendra Pradhan, Deputy Chief
Minister Sushil Kumar Modi and others for over two hours.

The leaders of the two coalition partners cleared the air of contention that engulfed them following the advertisement controversy, a senior BJP leader said.

"They met in a cordial atmosphere with a purpose to end all confusion rocked the coalition in the past two months," a senior BJP leader said, adding, the meeting is
significant before assembly polls due later this year.

Both parties pledged to continue their alliance at both national and state level and discussed joint poll strategies and seat sharing formula between them for the
coming assembly polls in Bihar, sources said.

Evading mediapersons gathered at Thakur`s residence, Nitish Kumar headed for airport to visit Saharsa to attend jailed politician Anand Mohan`s niece`s marriage at Panchgachia.

Jaitley described the meeting as a "social meeting" and refused to elaborate on the issues been discussed.

Last Month, Bihar chief minister and ally JD(U) leader Nitish Kumar had taken strong exception to an advertisement featuring him with Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi and another on Gujarat`s aid to Bihar after the 2008 Kosi floods.

BJP leaders later left for the residence of Deputy Leader of Vidhan Parishad Ganga Prasad, a senior saffron party leader, at Bailey Road, to discuss the outcome of discussion
with Kumar and formulate their poll strategies.

Chief minister`s relations with BJP soured last month following the publication of an advertisement in local dailies depicting him to lift hands of Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi when BJP`s national executive was being held at Patna.

Taking a serious exception to the advertisement, Kumar cancelled a dinner that he had hosted in the honour of the visiting BJP leaders including Modi.

Chief minister had later asked the police authorities to investigate the advertisement controversy and later a police team was rushed to Surat in Gujarat to investigate the
people who had paid for the advertisement.

The advertisement controversy had also created a chasm between the state unit leaders of the coalition partners - the JD(U) and the BJP - who have accused each other of
weakening the alliance by posturing against each other.

The opposition, like RJD, LJP and the Congress, too had sought to take political advantage of the advertisement controversy alleging that chief minister`s secular credentials stood thoroughly exposed in the wake of publication of the advertisement showing in the company of Modi.


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