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Photo with Modi annoys Nitish Kumar
Fallout: Cancels dinner for BJP leaders
Tribune News Service

Patna, June 12
Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumarís strong outburst on a full-page advertisement displaying him and Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi holding each otherís hand, carried by the leading Hindi dailies of Bihar on the day of BJP national executive meeting here today, has brought the 14-year-old alliance of JD (U) and the BJP under strain.

The immediate fallout of the strained relationship was cancellation of the dinner hosted by Nitish for the BJP leaders at Chief Ministerís residence here this evening. All top leaders of the BJP including Nitin Gadkari, LK Advani, Sushma Swaraj, Arun Jaitley and four Chief Ministers of BJP-ruled states that includes Narendra Modi, who are here to participate in the party national executive meeting, were to attend the dinner.

Talking to the mediapersons during a lunch hosted for them by the Bihar Chief Minister here this afternoon, Nitish reacted very strongly to the one-year-old photograph of him and Modi which was taken during a NDA rally at Ludhiana before the counting of votes during the last Lok Sabha elections being published as a full-page advertisement by some unknown Biharis settled in Gujarat in the Hindi dailies here today.

The advertisement was actually a publicity of Narendra Modiís popularity and the help extended by him to the people of Bihar during the Kosi deluge in 2008. Taking a serious exception to his photograph in the advertisement, Nitish said that it was not only ďunethicalĒ but also illegal to use some oneís photograph for publicity without taking his consent. A visibly angry Nitish said that he had ordered an inquiry into the source of this controversial advertisement and also threatened to take all possible legal action against those involved in it.

The Bihar CM also took umbrage to the claims made in this advertisement regarding the help extended by Modi during the Kosi disaster and said it was against Indian culture to go around beating the drums if you have extended help to somebody in distress. He said he would return whatever money was donated by the Gujarat government to Bihar Chief Ministerís Calamity Relief Fund.

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