Patna Diary – The Telegraph

The missing guest at high-profile wedding

• Recently the wedding of senior RJD leader Abdul Bari Siddiqui’s daughter took place at a hotel in Patna. Cutting across party lines, all leaders including political rivals like Ram Vilas Paswan and deputy chief minister Sushil Kumar Modi arrived to bless the couple. However, there was one person missing: chief minister Nitish Kumar, despite being in Patna. RJD leaders declared that perhaps Nitish would have found it difficult to come face to face with RJD chief Lalu Prasad as the two have had a bitter war of words after the political split. “CM Nitish Kumar has excellent personal relationship with Siddiqui Saheb and at one time even wanted him as deputy CM. But he cannot stand Lalu Prasad. I am sure that Nitishji must have made a personal call to Siddiqui Saheb to congratulate him,” said a JDU leader. However, RJD leaders are not convinced. “Sushil Kumar Modi had a public spat with many RJD leaders yet he came,” pointed out a senior RJD leader.

Beyond border

• Leaders of Jharkhand swear that a certain Bihar minister is so powerful that he influences decisions regarding giving huge contracts in their state. “In fact even contractors living in Jharkhand are making a rush to Patna to plead their case. The Bihar minister is trying for an extension of service for a senior IAS officer and sent emissaries to Delhi to ensure that the IAS officer’s service is extended,” a BJP MLA from Jharkhand said. The bifurcation of Bihar and Jharkhand took place around 17 years ago. “But Patna still seems to have a pull over anything happening in Ranchi,” remarked the MLA.

No more poetry

• At the Sardar Patel birth anniversary function organized by the JDU on October 31, the main organiser of the show, chief of the JDU farmers’ cell, declared that he had wished to recite his poems before chief minister Nitish Kumar but because it was getting late he would not do so. The man was practically hogging the public address system. Nitish Kumar told the man he can recite a poem. The man gladly recited a poem in praise of Nitish. But after that a number of hands were raised asking for a chance to recite their poems. Nitish said that he would deliver his speech and listen to them later. “Nitishji left after giving his speech, but I did not know we had so many poets in our party,” joked a JDU leader.

The Lalu way

• The controversy over a man who is an accused in a hooch tragedy appearing with chief minister Nitish Kumar has made old timers recall a similar case happening in the 1990s. A supplier of the animal resources department was photographed with then chief minister Lalu Prasad at a public function in Ranchi. The man later turned out to be one of the main accused in the fodder scam and the photograph was used to prove “nexus” between Lalu and the fodder scam mafia. “Nitishji seems to be making the same mistake as Lalu,” remarked a former minister after Tejashwi Yadav demanded that Nitish explain the photograph.

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