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Patna Diary

Mystery shrouds strange meeting

Mystery shrouded over another round of meeting between friends-turned-foes chief minister Nitish Kumar and dissident JD(U) MP Rajiv Ranjan alias Lallan Singh. upporters of the dissident MP called close politicians and journalists about an ongoing meeting between the two at 1 Aney Marg. They even gave accounts of how outsiders were banned from even going near the venue of the three-hour meeting. Lallan denied any such meeting with Nitish, but the latter's statement that he and Lallan keep on meeting has pressed the panic button among a section of the JD(U) leaders. “It can be a ploy to create confusion in the party ranks. I just hope that the chief minister does not defy the mandate given to him in the 2010 Assembly polls when Lallan, Prabhunath Singh and others opposed the NDA. Lallan openly campaigned for the Congress. The people voted for Nitish and against them,” said a senior JD(U) leader, wondering what would happen to the JD(U)’s petition to disqualify Lallan from Parliament if he is included in the party.

Photo fear

Chief minister Nitish Kumar always approves of whatever yoga televangelist Ramdev does. Recently, Nitish approved his agitation against black money. But followers of Ramdev in Patna appear to be far from happy with Nitish. The reason is the chief minister's reluctance to be photographed with Ramdev. “The chief minister’s office is quick in accepting a request from Ramdev to meet him. But cameramen are not allowed to enter the premises during the meeting,” said one of the followers of the yoga practitioner. Of course, this treatment is not confined to Ramdev. Followers of Sri Sri Ravishankar have the same complaint. “Nitish’s arch rival Lalu Prasad has no hesitation in being photographed with spiritual gurus. But Nitish appears to think that photographs with spiritual leaders would hurt his image as a secular and rational leader,” said a Congress leader, recalling the long history of politicians of Bihar who did not hesitate in touching the feet of godmen younger than them.

Long wait

The Congress leaders in Bihar appear to be exhausted. They seem to have no clue about what the All India Congress Committee (AICC) intends to do with the party’s organisation in Bihar. The present state chief Mehboob Ali Quaiser resigned on moral grounds after the party’s drubbing in the 2010 Assembly polls. Still, he goes through the “rituals” of being the state chief of the party because the AICC has not named his replacement. “It is not that we have a shortage of aspirants for the post. But after running to Delhi several times, fatigue appears to have gripped them. It appears that the AICC is in no mood to bring about any change in the party’s state organisation before the 2014 election,” said a senior Congress leader.

Iftar aroma in durbar

The Iftar party hosted by chief minister Nitish Kumar last week was so elaborate that those going to his janata durbar on Monday could smell the aroma of yummy dishes. The food was served at the huge enclosure where the janata durbar is conducted. “The spread comprised he best non-vegetarian dishes,” said a person who attended both the Iftar party nd the janata durbar.