The exchange of greetings between BJP veteran L K Advani and Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar at the National Integration Council meeting in Delhi on Monday,the first since the parting of ways of the NDA allies,has kicked up a political storm in the state with RJD terming it as ‘match fixing’ and JD(U) defending it as ‘normal courtesy’.
As the picture of Advani-Kumar meeting appeared on the TV channels,opposition RJD seized the opportunity and termed it as ‘match fixing’.
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“We have been saying from the beginning that Nitish Kumar has severed relationship with Narendra Modi BJP but is still with Advani BJP … The meeting gives ample indication of match fixing between JD(U) and BJP to split the secular votes in the coming Parliamentary elections,” RJD Secretary General Ramkripal Yadav told a party function at Nalanda.
“Advani has been guru to Nitish Kumar … How can he (Kumar) go away from him … the separation of the two parties is just a drama to divide secular votes,” Yadav said.
Defending Kumar’s action,Bihar JD(U) president Bashist Narayan Singh said,”Meeting Advani is part of a normal courtesy. Such practises make the democracy strong.”
Advaniji is among the few surviving veterans of Indian politics … After working together for so many years what is the harm in wishing one another despite being in separate parties?” he said flaying the opposition for ‘politicising everything’.
“We meet people associated with the JP movement despite the fact that some of them are in different parties. What is wrong in it?” he asked.
Singh said it was common knowledge that JD(U) separated from BJP after 17 years of association on ideological lines. “The decision to break up (with BJP) is final and based on our party ideology. Hence making political statements out of courtesy meeting does not hold any importance,” he added.
Bihar BJP too sought to downplay the meeting,describing it as standard practice under political protocol.
“The exchange of greetings by leaders of different political parties is routine practice and take place as per established political protocol,” senior BJP leader and former deputy chief minister Sushil Kumar Modi told reporters here.
He at the same time criticised Kumar for his cold vibes towards his Gujarat counterpart Narendra Modi when the two attended a function at the Vigyan Bhawan in New Delhi earlier in the year.
Both Kumar and Advani had reacted strongly to Modi’s rise in the BJP hierarchy. While Kumar broke the alliance between JD(U) and BJP,Advani had abstained from the national executive at Goa and the parliamentary board meeting where the Gujarat chief minister was elevated as the BJP poll campaign panel chief and the prime ministerial candidate respectively.
Lok Janshakti Party (LJP) President Ramvilas Paswan took a potshot at Kumar over his meeting BJP leader L K Advani.
“Will Kumar clarify whether Advani is secular or communal?” he asked adding,”If Narendra Modi is communal face due to 2002 Gujarat riots,Advani reflected the communal face of the party for demolishing Babri mosque in 1992.”
The chief of LJP,which is a partner of Lalu Prasad’s RJD in Bihar,alleged that the warm meeting between Advani and Nitish Kumar proved the ‘tacit understanding’ between BJP and JD(U) notwithstanding the announcement of their separation in June.