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HindustanTimes Sat,19 Apr 2014

Nitish drives PC around Patna, raises eyebrows

Subhash Pathak, Hindustan Times  Patna, May 12, 2013
First Published: 01:18 IST(12/5/2013) | Last Updated: 01:47 IST(12/5/2013)

Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar’s ‘extraordinarily courteous’ behaviour towards visiting Union finance minister P Chidambaram became a matter of much speculation among Congress leaders of Bihar on Saturday.

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The finance minister visited Patna to attend a meeting on Nalanda University and another of state bankers at Rajgir.

Kumar took Chidambaram in his own car to the Bihar Congress headquarters and even waited outside for a while as Chidambaram talked to party workers briefly. The CM later saw the finance minister off at the Patna airport.

This set tongues in the Congress wagging. However, AICC spokesman Shakeel Ahmad told reporters there was nothing unusual about Kumar’s conduct. “This is merely extension of basic courtesy by the CM,” Ahmad said.

Other party leaders said Kumar’s gesture was in reciprocation to Chidambaram’s indication that the Centre was amenable to conceding his demand for special category status for Bihar.

“One may recall, Kumar had broken ranks with NDA ally, the BJP, when he praised Chidambaram’s budget after the latter had hinted at a change in criteria for granting special status to states like Bihar,” said a PCC functionary.

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