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Nitish fills colours in lotus painting, triggers debate

Manoj Chaurasia | Patna |

Is Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar headed for the BJP? None is sure about that and the chief minister himself has scotched such speculations but the issue suddenly got surfaced on Saturday after Kumar filled colours in the painting of lotus which ironically is the poll symbol of the BJP—a party of which the JD-U was an ally for long. Very soon, the painting went viral in the social media, heating up Bihar politics.

As such, the chief minister had visited the Patna’s Gandhi Maidan to inaugurate 10 day-long Book fair being organised there. Soon after inaugurating the fair, he began visiting the stalls put up there. Eventually, he stopped by a stall and filled colours in the Lotus painting sketched by renowned Madhubani painting artist Baua Devi who was honoured with Padma Shree award this Republic Day. The CM even put his signature below the painting, without any signs of hesitation.

The move soon triggered hot debate in the state politics with some claiming CM’s love for the BJP is still alive although his party had officially broken alliance with the saffron party. What remains the basis of their claim are the way Kumar and his party, the ruling Janata Dal United (JD-U), have gone on strongly supporting just every action of the Narendra Mod government at the Centre, such as surgical strike and demonetization drive.

Strangely while both his alliance partners, the RJD and the Congress, have been opposing Centre’s moves tooth and nail, Kumar has gone on constantly backing the PM. Mr Kumar didn’t show any change in his stand even though he charged the Centre with ignoring Bihar in the Union budget, terming it “very boring and disappointing”.

“The budget has nothing for Bihar. There is no mention of the promises made by the PM about granting special package or Special Category status to the state,” was how Kumar rued and also appeared upset at the way there was no reference of “benefits” of the demonetization drive and how much black money had been recovered in the budget. “My party had supported note ban describing it a good step to curb black money but the budget did not mention anything about it. We want reply from the centre about the advantages of notes ban,” Kumar asked.

The Congress reacted by suggesting Kumar to make correction in his stand over the currency ban after shabby treatment by the Centre. “The chief minister should correct his mistake (over supporting notes ban) and take a decision to campaign for SP-Congress alliance in UP,” was how the state Congress leadership suggested. However, both Kumar and his party have gone silent over the issue so far.