Cheque taken but hush, no ads please

Gujarat donates Rs 5cr as flood relief

By Dipak Mishra in Patna
  • Published 8.09.17
  •  
Gujarat revenue minister Bhupendrasinh Chudasama (second from right) with chief minister Nitish Kumar and deputy CM Sushil Kumar Modi in Patna. Telegraph picture

Patna, Sept. 7: Times have changed - that was the message Gujarat revenue minister Bhupendrasinh Chudasama brought to Patna today, along with the cheque for Rs 5 crore as contribution for flood relief in Bihar.

As soon as he emerged from the airport, journalists besieged him with questions about 2010, when a livid chief minister Nitish Kumar had rebuffed a cheque for Rs 5 crore from then Gujarat chief minister Narendra Modi.

" Samay bahut balwan hota hain aur pariwartansheel hota hai; woh 2010 thha yeh 2017 hai (Time is very strong and ever changing. That was 2010 and this is 2017)," Chudasama replied.

He stressed that Bihar was facing floods and it was "part of Indian culture to help people in distress".

"I thanked the Bihar CM for giving me time and accepting the cheque. He also thanked me and the Gujarat CM," Chudasama said at the airport.

When journalists asked him if Gujarat would advertise its gift in Bihar newspapers like in 2010 - which had enraged Nitish - Chudasama said no. "In future Gujarat and Bihar will work together," he added.

Chudasama met Nitish and deputy chief minister Sushil Kumar Modi around 2pm at the CM's office Samvad where Nitish was holding review meetings.

"During the meeting of BJP chief ministers and deputy CMs called by the Prime Minister last month, I had requested them to help Bihar meet the flood challenge," Sushil told The Telegraph. "Donations have already come from Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh and Jharkhand. The CMs of Chhattisgarh, UP and Haryana have also assured me that they would be sending funds."

Jharkhand urban development minister C.P. Singh met Nitish around 11am and handed over a cheque of Rs 5 crore. After Sushil spoke, Chhattisgarh is also learnt to have sent Rs 5 crore via bank transfer.

A Bihar government press release said Nitish thanked the states for helping Bihar.

Leader of Opposition in the Assembly Tejashwi Yadav did not let go of the opportunity to needle Nitish, tweeting in Hindi that the chief minister must have felt helpless and weak accepting the cheque from Gujarat.

JDU spokesperson Neeraj Kumar in turn taunted Tejashwi's father, saying that since RJD chief Lalu Prasad had assets of over Rs 1,000 crore he should at least spend Rs 100 crore on flood victims. A senior JDU leader also pointed out that legislators cutting across party line used to donate to the CM's relief fund during times of natural calamity, "but this time not a single RJD MLA has donated".