Nitish returns Gujarat’s Kosi relief donation
Patna, June 19
Kumar, who was angry after local papers last week carried advertisements about the help given by the Gujarat Government for the 2008 Kosi flood victims, returned the money, which was lying unspent in the CM’s Relief Fund, officials said.
The Bihar Chief Minister had described the Modi government’s claim of liberal donation as “uncivilised”.
Reacting to Kumar’s decision to return the money, the Gujarat Government said the move was “unfortunate”. “The decision is unfortunate,” Gujarat minister and government spokesperson Jaynarayan Vyas told reporters in Dwarka in Gujarat. The assistance was given as a token of brotherly affection, he said.
With this, the on-going row between Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar and his Gujarat counterpart Narendra Modi has turned more bitter.
The development is likely to cause further strain in the relations between the two old allies - the JD(U) and the BJP. Bihar Minister for Disaster Management Devesh Chandra Thakur confirmed having refunded the money to Gujarat through a cheque. The receipt of the cheque had been acknowledged, Thakur said.
Nitish had announced his decision to refund the money donated by Gujarat Chief Minister for the victims of Kosi disaster during the first day of BJP’s national executive meet here last week.
Nitish was peeved over the controversial advertisement showing Modi and Nitish holding each other’s hand during an NDA rally in Ludhiana during the last Lok Sabha elections, published by leading newspapers of Bihar on the eve of national executive meeting here.
He took a serious exception to it for neither he nor the Bihar BJP had any inkling about these advertisements. Nitish not only ordered a police probe to find out the source of the controversial advertisement but alsocondemned the Gujarat Government (read Narendra Modi) for highlighting the donations made to Bihar two years ago.
The immediate fallout of the tiff between Nitish and Modi was cancellation of the dinner organised at Nitish’s house for the members of BJP national executive. On his part, Narendra Modi did not even mention the name of Nitish Kumar even once during his public speech at Patna. He rather praised his party leader and Deputy Chief Minister of Bihar Sushil Kumar Modi and other ministers of the BJP in the Nitish Kumar cabinet for doing good work in the state.
Calling the latest development as “very unfortunate”, Bihar BJP chief Dr CP Thakur said there should be no tit for tat in politics. Senior BJP leader and minister for PHED in Nitish Kumar cabinet Ashwini Chaube reacted more strongly and said Nitish should have taken approval of his cabinet for refunding the donation from Gujarat.
Reacting to the JD(U) demand that Narendra Modi should stay out of Bihar, Chaube said Bihar was not an ancestral domain of any individual or party and Narendra Modi would keep coming to the state as and when the Party invited him.
RJD chief Lalu Yadav said by refunding the money to Gujarat, Nitish had insulted the people of Bihar as well as Gujarat. According to Lalu, it was neither Narendra Modi’s money nor it was meant for Nitish. The money was donated by the people of Gujarat for their brethren in Bihar, who were in distress. Lalu also recalled the donation of Rs 10 crore made by Bihar to Gujarat at the time of earthquake in 2001 during his wife Rabri Devi’s chief ministership and said every one helped during calamities.
"Whenever there is a natural calamity, states do support each other. This was basically the money of the people of Gujarat. There ought not to be any politics in such relief," — Ravi Shankar Prasad BJP spokesperson
"It reflects arrogance of Nitish Kumar," — Shatrughan Sinha, BJP MP
"He (Nitish Kumar) should have thought before returning the fund that this money does not belong to any leader. This is the money given by people of Gujarat to people of Bihar," — Ahmed Patel, Senior Congress leader
“The ties between the two parties are old and they will continue.There is no question of any break-up," — Sharad Yadav,JD(U) president