Nitish brushes away speculation over colouring lotus

Patna : Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar today brushed away political speculations about old partners JD(U) and BJP coming closer after he painted a lotus at Patna Book Fair on February 4.

Kumar, who is the JD(U) national president, also avoided any direct answer to questions on the Uttar Pradesh elections.

“This is just a non-event, why are you asking me?…You should ask the organisers who requested me to fill colour on a painting of lotus drawn by famous Madhubani painter Bahua Devi during inauguration of the Patna Book fair,” Kumar told reporters.

“The organisers took me to the spot and requested to colour a painting drawn by Bahua Devi, which I did and put my signature to it,” he said, in the presence of Congress state chief and minister Ashok Choudhary and other ministers of the coalition.

Kumar adding colour to a lotus painting drawn by Padma Shree artist Bahua Devi at the Patna Book Fair on Saturday last had triggered speculations if JD(U) was inching towards BJP, whose election symbol is lotus.

JD(U) and BJP remained partners in Bihar for 17 years and had snapped ties in mid-2013 over elevation of Narendra Modi as BJP’s Prime Ministerial candidate at that time.

Earlier, Kumar’s support to demonetisation and Modi’s praise of the Bihar CM on prohibition and successful conduct of 350th Prakash Parva on January 5, had also given wings to the speculation.

Without directly referring to the alliance between Samajwadi Party and Congress in UP, Kumar told reporters after a ‘Lok Samvad'(Public Interaction) programme “It can’t be called a Mahagatbandhan (grand alliance) like in Bihar… Mahagatbandhan could have been achieved in UP only if the SP and the BSP had joined hands.”

He also sidestepped a question on senior RJD leader Raghubansh Prasad Singh making adverse comments on him. In reply to a question on his Nishchay Yatra, Kumar said it helped in taking feedback from people on prohibition and also plug loopholes in implementation of his ‘seven resolves’ of good governance.

He highlighted fruitfulness of the Public Grievance Redressal Act launched in June last year and said so far 1.13 lakh complaints were registered by citizens under the Act out of which 90,000 were redressed.