Modi now praises seer; ridiculous, scoffs Nitish

  • HT Correspondents, Hindustan Times, Ahmedabad/Kanpur/Patna
  • Updated: Oct 22, 2013 00:33 IST

For once, they could have been on the same page, but one decided to turn over a new leaf.

On Monday, hours after bête noir Gujarat chief minister Narendra Modi did a U-turn -- from slamming the Unnao gold hunt to praising ‘seer’ Shobhan Sarkar -- Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar declared the excavation was a case of “extreme idiocy”.

Three days ago, Modi said the excavation had made a “laughingstock” of the country. “Instead of bringing black money from Swiss banks, the government is trying to dig gold on basis of somebody’s dream,” he said.

But then, prodded by Sarkar, who commands a substantial following, Modi tweeted that his jibes were not aimed at Sarkar, but the government’s inability to bring back black money stashed abroad. “Lakhs of people have reposed faith in seer Shobhan Sarkar over many years. I salute his austerity and renunciation,” he tweeted.

In a letter, Sarkar had not only challenged Modi to a debate on black money and buried treasure, he also asked if the money used for Modi’s rallies and brand building was
"black" or "white”.

To placate the miffed ‘seer’, Modi even rushed an emissary to his Kanpur ashram. In a two-hour meeting, Maharajpur legislator Satish Mahana explained that the Gujarat chief minister “did not mean what he said”. “I told him (Sarkar) that he (Modi) has nothing but the highest regards for him and his remarks were misunderstood,” Mahana said.

Without commenting on Modi’s flip-flop, Kumar later said the whole episode was really amusing and criticised the Archeological Survey of India for indulging in such “frivolous excavations”. "This is ridiculous. Are they interested in taking the country to an era of orthodoxy?" he added.

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