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Modi snubs Nitish, praises Biharis, omits Nitish’s name
Published on 14 Jun. 2010 12:21 AM IST
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Gujarat chief minister Narendra Modi on Sunday praised Biharis and criticised Congress president Sonia Gandhi in his speech at a BJP rally in Patna. There is one name he mentioned at all though: Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar.
Kumar, whose Janata Dal-United (JD-U) party runs the state government in alliance with the BJP, had on Saturday expressed his outrage at newspaper advertisements showing him with Modi. He cancelled a dinner he was to host for senior BJP leaders, who are visiting Patna to attend a two-day meeting of the party’s national executive.
On Sunday, it was Modi’s turn to settle scores. He did not name Kumar even once in his speech and praised BJP leader and Bihar deputy chief minister Sushil Kumar Modi for Bihar’s development.
“The way in which Sushil Kumarji has managed the finances and brought in financial discipline, I want to congratulate him,” said Modi.
Modi, who spoke a few lines in Bhojpuri during his speech, thanked the people of Bihar for helping Gujarat during 2001 earthquake in Bhuj. This too was a dig at Kumar, who had criticised the Gujarat chief minister for listing the contributions his government had made for Kosi flood victims in 2008.
“It was the socialist leader Jai Prakash Narayan from Bihar who led the agitation against the then Congress government. It was in Gujarat that JP gave the call for total revolution against Emergency,” he said.
Kumar has threatened legal action against the agency that released the full-page advertisements in local newspapers. The advertisement, published in the name of dozens of people of Bihar who are now settled in Gujarat, projected Modi as a close friend of Nitish Kumar and highlighted the Gujarat government’s help after the Kosi floods.
The Gujarat government released another advertisement in dailies on Sunday but this time it contained a photograph of Modi and a list of development programmes being run by his government.
JD-U president Sharad Yadav on Sunday said the advertisement controversy was over and that his party had “old ties” with the BJP.
Yadav said in New Delhi the controversy over the advertisement “took place yesterday (Saturday)” and “it was over”.
“Both the parties have old ties,” he said.
Ad agency raided
With Kumar ordering an inquiry into the controversial advertisement showing him with Modi, the row deepened today as the state police carried out searches at the office of the ad agency Expression Advertising.
The police seized the PDF files and e-mails received by the agency in connection with the advertisements, official sources said. The authorities swung into action after Kumar’s secretary Chanchal Prasad wrote to the Senior Superintendent of Police Amit Jain, asking him to go into the matter.
Official sources said that the money for the advertisements was paid in cash in Surat and efforts were on to verify the source of the payment.
Meanwhile, a BJP minister from Bihar today lashed out at the Chief Minister questioning how he had “suddenly discovered that Modi is communal”.
BJP responds to JD (U)
In the midst of a standoff involving chief ministers Nitish Kumar and Narendra Modi, the BJP today sent a clear message to ally JD(U) that it was acting with “maturity” by taking “all along” but would not compromise on self-respect.
“We are a mature party which has a mature leadership with resilience.... We are showing maturity. For us, our self-respect is most important. We are not going to compromise on our self-respect,” party spokesperson Rajiv Pratap Rudy said.
He was replying to questions on the strains in BJP-JD(U) ties after Kumar yesterday cancelled a dinner for the BJP top brass attending the party’s national executive, apparently upset over his photograph being shown alongside that of Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi in a newspaper advertisement.
The BJP spokesman also downplayed the issue of advertisements brought out by Gujarat Government in prominent newspapers today, highlighting the achievements of the Modi administration. “State governments and the Central government come out with such advertisements regularly,” he said.

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