Soft-pedalling the controversy over the Nitish-Modi advertisement, senior BJP leader L K Advani on Sunday said "small problems" do occur in an alliance while JD(U) chief Sharad Yadav asserted that the "unpleasant" incident has been left behind.
"There can be differences in an alliance. I read in the newspapers that due to an advertisement, there were cracks. But by shaking hands, how can there be cracks. It can only lead to friendship and small problems do occur," Advani said addressing the party's Swabhiman rally here.
Reaching out to Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar, who had yesterday taken strong exception to the newspaper ad showing him holding hands with Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi, the BJP patriarch said he would have been happy had Kumar been present at the rally.
Advani fondly recalled how in 1995 the JD(U) leader had attended the BJP's national convention in Mumbai when he invited then Samata Party ailing leader George Fernandes for the meet.
He said Kumar has since been a part of the NDA and has been a senior minister for six years in the Vajpayee government.
"I would have been very happy if Nitish was present here today at this grand rally and addressed it with us," the former BJP president said.
No other BJP leader, including party chief Nitin Gadkari or Modi took the name of Kumar.
Gadkari, however, appealed to the people to vote NDA to power for the second time in the state to further speed up development and spoke of adherence to 'coalition dharma'.
Modi took a dig at Kumar while thanking Bihar for helping Gujarat after the 2001 earthquake and also praised the contribution of the people of the state in development of his state.
Kumar had yesterday criticised the Gujarat Government's claim that it had provided aid liberally to Bihar after the Kosi floods, prompting the chief minister to say that it was an "uncivilised" comment and he was willing to return the relief money.
Advani's attempt to extend the olive branch came on the heels of a statement by the JD(U) chief downplaying the stand-off between Kumar and Modi and emphasising that the JD(U)-BJP have "old ties".
"Our alliance and relationship is quite old... an unpleasant incident took place yesterday and it has passed," Sharad Yadav said, but added that it was customary from the head of the government before their photographs appear in advertisement.