The Telegraph
Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Nitish poser on meet axe

POWER JOLT: Chief minister Nitish Kumar in Patna on Monday. Picture by Nagendra Kumar Singh

Patna: Chief minister Nitish Kumar on Monday admitted that the last-minute calling off of the two-day power ministers' conference at Rajgir by the Centre was an "embarrassment" that could have been avoided.

"The conference should not have been postponed at the last hour," Nitish said. "It was an impractical step because ministers from many states had reached. Our principal secretary, energy, told me several others had reached Delhi airport (to catch their flights to Patna). It was an embarrassment for everybody."

Nitish said the role of his government was that of a facilitator and all arrangements to welcome the guests were complete. "The minister of state for power had written, asking me to participate in the conference. Our energy minister, Bijendra Prasad Yadav, also suggested we participate in it. It would have been good had it been organised. People would have seen and understood how good Bihar is," Nitish said.

The conference, scheduled for November 10 and 11, was postponed less than 24 hours before its scheduled start. The official website of the Union power ministry says the conference has been postponed and new dates will be intimated later.

Many political observers interpreted the postponement as yet another snub to Bihar. Prime Minister Narendra Modi had earlier turned down Nitish's demand to grant central status to Patna University and chosen not to address the chief minister's doubts on incessant flow of the Ganga.

Bijendra said the decision on Rajgir as the venue was taken at the power ministers' conference at Vadodara, Gujarat, in October 2016.

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