Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar on Saturday cancelled a dinner he was to host for Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leaders, apparently miffed over a series of full page advertisments that appeared in vernacular dailies showing him with Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi. He also threatened legal action against the agency that had released the advertisements
Though no official reason was given for the cancellation of the dinner, Janata Dal-United (JD-U) sources hinted that the move was a fallout of the advertisements. The BJP leaders are here to attend the party's two-day national executive that began Saturday morning
The advertisement, published in the name of dozens of people of Bihar who are now settled in Gujarat, projected Modi as a close friend of the Nitish Kumar and highlighted his state's generous help after the 2008 Kosi floods in Bihar.
Nitish Kumar said that he was stunned on seeing the advertisement, hours before Modi arrived here to attend the BJP meet.
"Enough is enough. I will not tolerate such a blunder. I will take possible legal action against the advertising agency for using my photograph along with Narendra Modi without my permission and knowledge," Nitish Kumar told reporters.
Noting it was illegal to publish anyone's picture without permission, Nitish Kumar also criticised the reference to Modi's help for Kosi relief efforts, and asked his officials to return the money given by the Gujarat government.
"It is against our culture and age-old tradition that a helping hand extended to people in crisis or in pain is not reminded of and propagated. It is uncivilised," he said.
Responding to questions about the dinner's cancellation, BJP spokesman Shahnawaz Hussain said that for the party, dinners or lunches hardly matter. "For us, dinner or lunch comes last," he said.
The BJP sought to downplay the cancellation, saying it had been decided to have dinner at the venue of the meeting itself instead of going to the chief minister's official residence.
He clarified that Gujarat government has not issued the advertisement.
"The advertisement issued in local dailies has nothing to with the Gujarat government," Hussain said.