Chief Minister Narendra Modi will address a gathering of prominent Biharis in Ahmedabad this Sunday as the chief guest of an event that will celebrate the centenary of Bihar’s foundation.
The function is being organised by Maa Janki Seva Samiti (MJSS),a registered trust in Ahmedabad since 2006 and named after Goddess Sita. Senior IPS officers and bureaucrats of Bihar origin working in the Gujarat government,central government,besides businessmen and others in Ahmedabad and Gandhinagar,are likely to attend the programme.
Though organisers say it is a cultural event with no political overtones,the event has generated interest in political circles,given the ostensibly strained relations between Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar and Narendra Modi. The invitation card,in fact,has a huge picture of Modi but no mention of his Bihar counterpart.
Bihar celebrated 100 years of statehood on March 22 this year.
“We have nothing to do with politics even if this is the election year in Gujarat. We have invited Modiji since he is the head of the state which has given us so much of happiness and prosperity,” said Mahadev Jha,chairman of the reception committee and a member of MJSS. Jha also runs Madhusudan Dhyan Yog Kendra in city.
One of the guests at the event is a former IPS officer of Gujarat cadre,Acharya Kunal Kishore,who was recently in the news for his statement that late prime minister P V Narasimha Rao did not act to stop Babri Masjid’s demolition. Kishore is also the secretary of Mahadev Mandir Trust in Patna,which is constructing what is being hailed as the biggest Hindu temple in the world.
Artists who performed in the Bihar government’s official centenary celebrations will also be performing here. Among them is Vijaya Bharti,a well-known Bhojpuri singer.
“I was invited to represent Bihar in the event in Ahmedabad and so I agreed. In politics,states have some rivalries but culturally,these two states are doing a lot of things together,” Kishore told The Indian Express over phone. He said since he took voluntary retirement from Gujarat Police in 2001 to get involved in religious works,he has been visiting Gujarat frequently.
Mahendra Jha,a member of ogranising committee of the event and trustee of the Lord Jagannath Temple in Ahmedabad,said there are several IPS officers,including K K Ojha and Mohan Jha,who are among the organisers. He said the MJSS wanted to bring either Modi or Governor Kamla Beniwal. Since Governor was busy with other programmes,they approached CM who agreed to come.
The organisers had approached Modi through state BJP spokesperson I K Jadeja.
The group,claiming to have more than 400 members,has been active in organising cultural events in Ahmedabad,including Bihar’s biggest festival Chhath. This one,however,promises to be the biggest in the last six years of its existence.
The MJSS has already received several “good wishes” from Bihar’s ministers,MLAs and MPs.
The political rivalry between Nitish Kumar and Modi was out in the open when the former returned the Rs 5-crore cheque the Gujarat government had given for flood victims.
In June this year,Modi’s remarks on Bihar’s backwardness due to caste politics had kicked up a war of words.