Amid the scorching summer heat of June 2010, then Bihar CM Nitish Kumar further raised political temperatures of the state by cancelling dinner for BJP leaders. The apparent trigger was a BJP advertisement showing Kumar holding hands with then Gujarat CM Narendra Modi, who went on to become the prime minister. The incident ultimately precipitated into the JD(U) walking out of the coalition in July 2013, ending 17 years of association with the saffron party.
Cut to 2018 – Kumar was on Thursday all smiles, hosting BJP chief Amit Shah for breakfast. Not only this, Shah is also scheduled to have dinner with Kumar before calling off the day. Things often get dramatic beyond imagination in politics!
Hours after enjoying ‘poha’ and Bihari dishes made of ‘sattu’, fruits, lassi and buttermilk, Shah announced, with emphasis, that the NDA is intact in Bihar and they will win all 40 seats of the state in Lok Sabha elections 2019. Shah’s announcement came a few days after Kumar had said his party’s alliance with the BJP would continue in 2019. There is no clarification about seat-sharing yet. However, if so much can happen on breakfast, imagine what more may transpire over the dinner.
This is Shah’s first visit to Bihar after the dramatic political realignment of the last year when Kumar walked out of the Grand Alliance to the old partner BJP.
At breakfast, Shah and Kumar are understood to have discussed the prevailing political situation in view of the Lok Sabha polls 2019, PTI reported. Shah reached Patna from Ranchi in the morning and was given a warm welcome by BJP workers and senior leaders, including state president Nityanand Rai. From the airport, the BJP chief straightaway drove to the state guest house to meet Kumar. Deputy CM Sushil Modi, BJP Bihar in-charge Bhupendra Yadav, and Rai were also present.
Kumar and Shah were a picture of poise at the breakfast meeting. On full display was their bonhomie, signalling the opposition to stop thinking about an NDA break-up before 2019. Both leaders were caught on camera smiling and bonding well during the brief meeting that lasted around 45 minutes.
After the breakfast meeting, Shah and other BJP heavyweights, including Union ministers Ravi Shankar Prasad, Radha Mohan Singh and Ram Kripal Yadav, accompanied Kumar to the porch to see him off.
Kumar didn’t take questions from reporters after the meeting, but he was seen coming out smiling from the state guest house, probably he was assured of a large number of seats to contest next year even after his party’s disastrous 2014 experience.