Nitish snubs BJP leaders, cancels dinner

Last Updated: Saturday, June 12, 2010 - 23:25

Patna: In a clear snub to its coalition
partner, an angry Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar on Saturday
cancelled a dinner for the top brass of the BJP in disapproval
of an advertisement featuring him with Gujarat Chief Minister
Narendra Modi and another on Gujarat`s aid during the floods
two years ago.

There was bad blood between the two sides, which run a
coalition government for the last nearly five years, after
Kumar attacked those who released an advertisement featuring
him with Modi, about whom he was always uncomfortable as a
political ally.

The JD(U) leader, who has an eye on Muslim votes, has
fashioned himself as a secular leader and in the past had
avoided sharing any dias with Modi in Bihar.

The dinner he had planned for the BJP leaders attending
the National Executive became a casualty in the midst of a
vitiated atmosphere and BJP leaders also expressing their
reluctance to attend the dinner.

A BJP leader, who declined to be identified, accused
Nitish of "over reacting" by attacking Modi.

"He is overreacting. This is not the way to treat your
partner". He said that opinion was building up against
attending the dinner. Modi was one of the invitees to the
dinner.

Nitish calls Modi’s govt ‘uncivilised’

Nitish Kumar lashed out at Modi`s government for its
advertisement yesterday on its "liberal donation" to Bihar
during the 2008 Kosi floods, saying it was "uncivilised" to
talk about help given during times of tragedy.

He also took strong exception to the use of his
photograph with that of Modi in another advertisement
published in local dailies and said he would take legal action
against those responsible for it.

"The Gujarat government`s claim (on flood relief) is
uncivilised and against Indian culture. Nobody claims of
bestowing favours on those who face tragedy caused by natural
calamities," Kumar, who heads the JD(U)-BJP government in
Bihar, told reporters here.

He said he would return the "unutilised money" to the
Modi Government. "I do not know the exact amount contributed
to the Relief Fund by Gujarat. I will go through the details
and immediately return the money received from Modi which was
lying unspent in the CM Relief account," he said.

Kumar said he or his office was not consulted on the
use of his photograph with that of Modi in the advertisement
issued by some private individuals.

"It has caused a great embarrassment to me," Kumar said
in reply to a question.

"I have no knowledge about the agency advertising my
photograph along with that of Modi as published in newspapers
today. Nor was my office consulted...I will explore and take
all possible legal action against those responsible for this
unethical and illegal act," the chief minister said.

Kumar, however, said that such developments would not
impact the alliance between the two parties.

His comments have come at a time when the parties are
preparing for the assembly elections in the state due later
this year. Kumar has kept Modi at an arm`s length apparently
to woo Muslim voters.

He had specifically asked the BJP not to use Modi, who
had received flak for the 2002 Gujarat riots, in its campaign
in the state during the 2009 Lok Sabha elections.

A section of BJP leadership felt the advertisements
were brought out by those opposed to the JD(U)-BJP alliance.

PTI



First Published: Saturday, June 12, 2010 - 23:25

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