BJP leaders attend Nitish's dinner feast

Patna: The presence of some BJP leaders at a dinner hosted by Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar today once again brought to a boil the simmering speculations of bonhomie between the two erstwhile partners of NDA.

The event also exposed differences within the BJP with some party leaders including Sushil Kumar Modi attending the dinner, even as others like Leader of Opposition in the Assembly Prem Kumar and Nand Kishore Yadav giving it a miss.

Leaders of all parties were extended invitation for the feast hosted at the 1, Anne Marg residence of the CM after budget session of the two Houses of the state Legislature came to an end.

Deputy Chief Minister Tejaswi Prasad Yadav, his Health Minister brother Tej Pratap Yadav and mother Rabri Devi were in attendance from RJD, Congress state top brass including Ashok Choudhary and others were present on the occasion.

The event, however, gained prominence due to presence of BJP leaders at CM's dinner even as some others boycotted it.

Modi told reporters that the invitation was for every legislator and was not on party line.

"Party whip cannot be issued for such event. It's the choice of an individual to accept the invitation or not," Modi, who served as Deputy Chief Minister to Kumar during NDA rule, said.

However, his party colleague Prem Kumar said, "The state government rained lathis on agitating teachers, home guards and citizens protesting against huge hike in electricity rates and others." 

"In such a situation my conscience did not allow me to break bread with people subjecting common man to suppression," he told PTI.

On Modi attending the feast, Kumar said the invitation was sent personally to all legislators and not at party level.

Former Opposition leader Nand Kishore Yadav said since he had to go to Muzaffarpur due to some programme, he could not make it to the dinner.

He, however, added that was an individual choice to accept dinner invitation or not do so.

In January, JD(U) had invited BJP at 'Dahi-Chura' feast on the occasion of Makarsankranti, amidst speculation that the two parties are getting closer after Nitish Kumar's support of demonetisation.