The Narendra Modi government on Friday got a rare praise from its bitterest rival, Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar, for the Centre’s prompt help to the storm-ravaged state.
Union home minister Rajnath Singh returned the compliment with the promise that the Centre would stand by Bihar in its hour of crisis and extend all possible help on the basis of the state government’s assessment of the devastation in Purnea, Madhepura and other north-eastern districts.
Over 50 people died in the storm that scythed through the state on Tuesday night, flattening houses and mango, maize and other crops.
Both leaders appreciated each other’s efforts after an aerial survey of the affected areas along with Union ministers Radha Mohan Singh and Ravi Shankar Prasad and senior BJP leader Sushil Kumar Modi, who was deputy chief minister when Kumar’s Janata Dal (United) was part of the NDA.
Kumar had pulled out of the NDA after the BJP made Narendra Modi its election campaign head in 2013, swirling speculations — and rightly so — that it was a step to make him the prime ministerial candidate for the Lok Sabha polls the following year.
“I am hopeful that the Centre would provide adequate assistance once we complete our assessment and present our report,” he said after the home minister told reporters that the state’s initial reports were in the right direction.