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Patna Diary

Meeting of like’ minds

Two “unusual” recent rendezvous in the state have sparked excited whispers in the political circles. The first one was a state Congress delegation led by Mehboob Ali Kaiser meeting chief minister Nitish Kumar with a memorandum to provide the party with an office near the secretariat. “It seems that that Congress has finally accepted Nitish as the person who can solve its problems,” said a senior leader of the party. The problem: acquiring a space to host news meets in the heart of the city rather than the Congress headquarters at Sadaqat Ashram, which is at a distance. “The Congress used to submit memorandums to the governor but now the party leaders have realised that he can’t help them on his own.”

The other development is more startling to all and sundry. Leader of the Opposition in the Assembly Abdul Bari Siddiqui recently met incarcerated former RJD MP Md Shahabuddin. “Siddiqui sahib never got along well with Shahabuddin when their party was in power and the latter was a terror. Now that he is in jail and unlikely to be released soon, we wonder why the Leader of the Opposition has suddenly warmed up to him,” said a senior RJD leader.

Decoration disclaimer

Official residences of JD(U) ministers and leaders in Patna were decked up to welcome Adhikar Rally participants. So was the bungalow of health minister Ashwini Kumar Choubey. “The BJP leader was at pains to explain that his home had been decorated not to welcome the JD(U) supporters who had thronged Patna for their rally but for the birthday of his grandson,” said a BJP leader. “Choubeyji had requested his son to host the party at a hotel but the family turned down his plea. So the health minister had to constantly ward off questions from journalists.” The confusion was sparked by BJP MLA Rameshwar Chourasia who agreed to host Adhikar Rally participants at his home, claimed other party leaders.

Tricks at tribute

JD(U) leaders are angry with animal and fish resources minister Giriraj Singh. The BJP leader has always been outspoken about his preference for Gujarat chief minister Narendra Modi as the NDA prime ministerial candidate over Nitish Kumar. But the JD(U) leaders are now accusing him of playing dirty tricks during the recent visit of Modi to Bihar to pay tribute to former governor Kailashpati Mishra — referred to as Bhishma Pitamaha (patriarch) by the Bihar BJP leaders. “Hearing the news of Mishraji’s death, Giriraj said he was in mourning. But when Modi came, Giriraj asked his supporters to raise slogans in his favour,” said a senior JD(U) leader, adding that the Gujarat CM behaved with more dignity than the Bihar animal and fish resources minister.

Hero of the rally

After the success of the JD(U)’s Adhikar Rally, there is speculation over who is the hero of the historic meet. any declared it was itish Kumar. But others pointed out that it was low profile JD(U) MP nd former IAS officer am Chandar Prasad popular as RCP) who layed the key role. He has been travelling o the districts for the ast three months and strengthening the organisation of the party at the grassroots level. Had the rally ailed, every JD(U) leader would have blamed him,” said party MP.