The Telegraph
Wednesday , January 15 , 2014
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Food, poll strategy on platter together

- Party feasts to mark Makar Sankranti

Political chitchat and traditional food — dahi (curd), chura (flattened rice) and tilkut (a sweet item made of sesame seed) — complement each other on Makar Sankranti.

The occasion, which marks the end of kharmas (considered to be inauspicious), would extend from January 14 to 15 this year. Following the tradition, leading leaders of the state would either host feasts or pay visit to some of them these two days with future plans on mind. Some parties would also organise feasts.

With the Rajya Sabha and Lok Sabha polls around the corner, parleys during Makar Sankranti feasts would be doubly significant.

Chief minister Nitish Kumar visited the residence of Vijay Kumar Mishra, the sitting BJP MLA from Jale in Darbhanga to have dahi-chura and tilkut. Vijay, the son of late L.N. Mishra, has announced that he would not contest the next Assembly polls and has been issuing statements in favour of Nitish of late.

“It is natural for the chief minister to accept Vijay Mishra’s invitation and intensify the dissent in the BJP,” said a senior JD(U) leader.

The party of Nitish would organise a mega dahi-chura feast for the JD(U) workers at New Patna Club on Wednesday. The state JD(U) president, Bashishtha Narayan Singh, would host all the existing and former MPs, MLAs, MLCs and the cabinet ministers in the Nitish government.

Bashishtha said there was nothing political about the feast. “I have been organising the feast for the past 16 years and there is nothing new in it. Earlier, I used do organise this in New Delhi and now I am doing it in Patna. People should not indulge in any politics on a pious occasion,” he said.

The party insiders, however, claimed that the feast was just an excuse to discuss the plans for the upcoming elections.

The RJD chief, Lalu Prasad, would host his party leaders at 10 Circular Road — the residence of his wife Rabri Devi. The focus would be more on Lok Sabha polls than dahi and chura at the RJD feast.

Lalu has been in New Delhi for more than two weeks and is likely to discuss his plan to hit the streets and hold public meetings. “It is a very important meeting in which all the leaders related to the party has been invited. Discussions will take place on political strategies for the upcoming Lok Sabha elections,” said RJD state unit president Ram Chandra Purbey.

All the BJP MPs, MLAs and MLCs would be off to New Delhi in a couple of days to take part in the two-day national council meeting of the party scheduled for January 18 and 19. The state president of the party, Mangal Pandey, would leave for New Delhi tomorrow for the party’s national executive meeting on January 17.