PATNA: Politics came full circle in the state capital here on Thursday. Eight years after he cancelled a dinner hosted for senior BJP leaders including then Gujarat CM Narendra Modi over a full-page advertisement showing Modi holding hands with him, Bihar CM and JD(U) president Nitish Kumar on Thursday not only met with BJP chief Amit Shah on breakfast, but also hosted a dinner at his official residence for the saffron party leader.
Despite ongoing rumblings between the two parties on the issue of seat-sharing for the upcoming Lok Sabha polls, Nitish and Shah displayed perfect bonhomie during the breakfast at the state guest house, which is located close to the CM’s official residence.
Shah arrived at the local airport in the morning from Ranchi. He was accorded a warm welcome by thousands of BJP workers and leaders led by deputy CM Sushil Kumar Modi and state president Nityanand Rai. From the airport, Shah drove straight to the guest house. Nitish reached the guest house within minutes of Shah having reached there. The BJP’s national general secretary in-charge for Bihar Bhupendra Yadav received Nitish at the guest house’s gate and escorted him upto Shah’s room.
Soon after Nitish's arrival at the guest house, Shah (who was being accompanied by Sushil Modi and Rai) and the JD(U) chief posed for photographs. As photographers clicked, both the leaders displayed perfect bonhomie, apparently to give a strong message to the state’s rival alliance that there was no bitterness between the two leading partners of NDA in Bihar.
Shah and Nitish later had breakfast where they were served mostly vegetarian items like fruits, poha, lassi, buttermilk and some Bihari dishes. Senior BJP leaders including Union ministers Ravi Shankar Prasad, Radha Mohan Singh and Ram Kripal Yadav as well as Sushil Modi and Nityanand Rai also joined the breakfast meet which continued for around 45 minutes.
After breakfast, Shah and three union ministers accompanied Nitish upto the portico to see him off. Nitish came out smiling. Though the CM politely declined to take questions from the waiting media persons, his body language showed that he had a very cordial discussion with Shah.
Though neither BJP nor JD(U) disclosed as to what sort of discussion took place between the chiefs of the two parties, political observers believe, the two leaders might have discussed issues related to the upcoming Lok Sabha election.
It was the first visit of Shah to Bihar after the humiliating defeat of BJP in the 2015 assembly polls.
In the evening, Nitish hosted a dinner at his official residence in honour of Shah. Besides Shah, several senior leaders of the BJP and JD(U) joined the dinner.
In June 2010, Nitish had cancelled a dinner he had hosted for the BJP seniors including Narendra Modi who had at the time come to Patna to attend national executive meeting of their party. The dinner was cancelled after a full-page advertisement with huge photographs showing the then Gujarat CM Modi holding hands with Nitish, appeared in the local newspapers.