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Nitish Kumar and Sushil Modi: Friends for 40 years now draw the battlelines

BJP-JD(U) split is as much a political development as story of two friends parting ways.

Written by Santosh Singh | Patna | Published: June 17, 2013 2:07:32 am

The BJP-JD(U) split is as much a political development as the story of two friends of four decades parting ways. Together,these two friends — Chief Minister Nitish Kumar and Deputy CM Sushil Kumar Modi — were seen as architects of Bihar’s turnaround story.

While Sushil Kumar let Nitish walk away with the credit,the Chief Minister always praised his deputy’s meticulous way of functioning. If Bihar boasted of an average 10.9 per cent annual growth under Nitish,its success may well be attributed to Sushil Kumar’s efforts as the finance minister. Sushil Kumar was also the man behind the idea of presenting a ‘gender budget’; in the last budget,he added separate columns for scheduled caste and Mahadalits. Nitish often praised him by saying that Bihar was able to increase its revenue due to Sushil Kumar’s planning.

They are both very similar — good planners,always ready with figures,articulate and mostly politically correct. Their friendship goes back to a time when they were students — Sushil Kumar in Patna Science College and Nitish in Bihar College of Engineering — who were part of the JP movement and went to jail together.

Sushil Kumar had even earned the displeasure of BJP leaders when he described Nitish as prime ministerial material. Till very recently he seemed keen to make the alliance work.

“Together,we provided the winning formula to get rid of Lalu-raj,” he said some time ago. Even after the split,they refrained from making personal attacks on each other.

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