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Nitish returns relief money to Modi

The spat between Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar and Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi turned ugly today with Nitish returning Rs five crore donated by Modi for Kosi flood relief fund.

delhi Updated: Jun 19, 2010 18:55 IST

Miffed over advertisements featuring him and Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi and referring to the aid provided by Gujarat during the 2008 Kosi floods, Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar Saturday returned the Rs.5 crore that had been given for the purpose.

Exactly a week ago, Nitish Kumar had threatened to return the "unutilised money" to Gujarat.

He had also cancelled a dinner he was to host for Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leaders attending the party's national executive meeting here after full page advertisements appeared in vernacular dailies showing him with Modi.

Nitish Kumar also threatened legal action against the agency that had released the advertisements for using his photograph without his permission.

Official sources in the chief minister's office told IANS that the Bihar government returned the "unutilised money" to Gujarat.

"The Bihar government has returned the unutilised money to the Gujarat government," an official said.

Bihar Disaster Management Minister Divesh Chand Thakur said the step was taken as Gujarat propagated the help provided for the floods victims.

Nitish Kumar had said the Gujarat government's claim was uncivilised and against the Indian culture. "Nobody claims of bestowing favours on those who face tragedy caused by natural calamities," he said.

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 Nitish Kumar and highlighted his state's generous help after the devastating 2008 floods in Bihar.

Nitish Kumar said he was stunned on seeing the advertisement, hours before Modi arrived here to attend the BJP meet.

First Published: Jun 19, 2010 11:30 IST