Keen to capitalise on Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar's discomfiture over a photograph showing him holding hands with the controversial Narendra Modi, Congress workers in the state are pushing for it to be part of their campaign for the upcoming assembly polls.
Party leader Shakeel Ahmed, who is former Bihar Congress president, said the publicity committee of the party should consider using the photograph of Janata Dal-United (JD-U) chief Nitish Kumar with the Gujarat chief minister for the party's poll campaign in the state.
The photograph, in which Kumar and Modi are holding hands, appeared in an advertisement in some Patna newspapers during the Bharatiya Janata Party's (BJP) national executive meeting in the city last month.
“The publicity committee of the party will decide whether to use the photograph in the campaign. The publicity committee should consider its inclusion,” Ahmed told IANS.
He said it was the party's responsibility to bring the truth before people. Ahmed said secular-minded people in the state and minorities were “mature” and would not be taken in by Nitish Kumar's attempts to distance himself from the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader.
“They (people) know that they were together (in National Democratic Alliance government),” Ahmed said, adding that Nitish Kumar had no problems a year back in accepting relief money sent by Modi.
Patna rural district Congress chief Ramji Lal has also demanded that the party should use Nitish-Modi photograph in the campaign.
"The picture portrays Nitish's real face," he said.
Nitish Kumar had taken umbrage to publication of his photograph, taken during a NDA rally in Ludhiana during the 2009 Lok Sabha polls, saying it had been done without his permission. He cancelled a dinner scheduled for BJP leaders and returned the unspent relief money to Gujarat.
Some JD-U leaders even demanded that Modi and BJP MP Varun Gandhi, both known for their strident communal speeches, should not campaign in the state for the assembly polls later this year.