Nitish rejects suggestions of growing bonhomie between him and PM Modi, says went to discuss Bihar issues
Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar on Saturday met Prime Minister Narendra Modi in the national capital, a day after he skipped the luncheon meeting organised by Congress President Sonia Gandhi for opposition leaders. While rejecting any suggestions of growing bonhomie between him and PM Modi, Nitish said he met to discuss Bihar related issues. After the meeting, the Bihar CM told the media about the issue of silt in Ganga, which he discussed with the Prime Minister. "The issue of silt in Ganga is getting serious, there is a danger of flood. I thought I should meet PM on this issue separately," Kumar was quoted as saying by ANI, adding that he had met Sonia Gandhi on April 20 to discuss opposition unity and presidential election.
The chief minister also clarified to the media that it was not a political meeting but a regular PM-CM meeting. "I did not meet him in the capacity of the JD(U) chief but as the state chief minister. It was not a political meeting. Why is the media reading too much into it?" he said. He also refused to entertain questions from media persons about allegations of corruption against his ally – RJD chief Lalu Prasad – and his family members. There are allegations and counter allegations, he said, claiming that he responded only to "facts."
Nitish met Modi after attending a lunch hosted by the Prime Minister for his Mauritian counterpart Pravind Jugnauth.
The PMO confirmed the news in a tweet: "The Chief Minister of Bihar, Shri @NitishKumar met PM Shri @narendramodi in New Delhi today," the PMO tweeted.
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.
Congress President Sonia Gandhi had earlier organised a luncheon meeting, which was attended by the leaders of 17 parties, as part of efforts to forge an opposition unity particularly in the context of upcoming presidential polls. Kumar had on Friday sought to downplay his absence from Gandhi's meeting.