A day after he skipped Congress president Sonia Gandhi’s lunch hosted for Opposition parties to ostensibly decide on a presidential probable, Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar met Prime Minister Narendra Modi in Delhi for a lunch hosted in honour of visiting Mauritius Prime Minister Anerood Jugnauth.
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Nitish is in the capital on PM Modi’s invite. His latest move only strengthens rumours of increasing bonhomie between the JD-U president and the ruling BJP. The Bihar CM had famously supported Modi’s controversial demonetisation move even as other Opposition parties had widely denounced it. More recently, he said he was not in the race for prime minister’s post while stating that Modi was elected as PM because people saw “potential” in him. The JD-U chief has also chosen not to comment on recent Income Tax raids on ally RJD chief Lalu Prasad over benami land deals.
“I was invited by Prime Minister Narendra Modi for the lunch in the honour of Mauritius Prime Minister (Pravind Jugnauth). You know we have deep emotional bonds with people there. 52 per cent of population there has origins in Bihar,” Nitish has been quoted as saying by India Today.
At Sonia’s lunch, which was aimed at projecting a united face of the Opposition, Nitish’s party was represented by senior JD-U leaders K C Tyagi and Sharad Yadav. Nitish is learnt to have cited prior engagements for missing it.
Rivals Trinamool Congress and the CPI(M) as well as UP adversaries, the Samajwadi Party and the Bahujan Samaj Party, were present at the lunch . It was also attended by NCP leader Sharad Pawar, RJD chief Lalu Prasad and DMK’s Kanimozhi.Omar Abdullah of the National Conference also attended the event.