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Nitish says didn’t snub Sonia, to attend Modi’s lunch because of Mauritius PM

Reports of Nitish Kumar’s planned visit to Delhi came on the heels of his decision to skip an Opposition meeting convened by Sonia Gandhi to settle on a consensus candidate for the presidential elections.

india Updated: May 26, 2017 21:26 IST
Anil Kumar
Anil Kumar
Hindustan Times, Patna
Nitish Kumar,Narendra Modi,Sonia Gandhi
Bihar CM Nitish Kumar will attend a lunch meeting called by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in Delhi on May 27.(AP Dube/ HT File Photo)

Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar, who was at the receiving end on Friday for not attending an Opposition meeting convened by Sonia Gandhi but accepting Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s invite for lunch on Friday, blamed the political speculation on “misinterpretation”.

“No meeting was slated for the day. Neither was a discussion on the President’s election on the agenda,” Kumar told the media.

“She (Sonia Gandhi) had already invited me in April and I had a talk with her on the issue then,” he said, clarifying why he was absent from the meeting ahead of the Presidential election.

“All this speculation is nothing but misinterpretation,” Kumar said, adding “don’t read too much into it”.

“I had made it clear a couple of days back that our (Janata Dal-United) former national president Sharad Yadav will be representing the party at the luncheon meeting of Opposition leaders.”

Reports of Kumar’s planned visit to New Delhi came on the heels of his decision to skip an Opposition meeting convened by Congress president Sonia Gandhi on Friday to settle on a consensus candidate for the upcoming presidential elections. Party national president Sharad Yadav attended in his place.

Kumar has already said he supports the re-election of President Pranab Mukherjee as a consensus candidate, which, he believes would send out a positive signal in the country.

As for accepting PM Modi’s invite, Kumar said “it is being hosted in the honour of the Mauritian Prime Minister (Pravind Jugnauth). We share a sentimental and close association with the people of Mauritius, 52% of them have roots in Bihar. I accepted the invite as the chief minister of that state.”

“While it is part of tradition to invite chief ministers having interest in the country of visiting heads of nations, I will be using the opportunity to draw the attention of PM Narendra Modi on the pressing need for the formulation of national silt policy,” he said.

Kumar said he sent a formal letter to the PM’s Office for holding talks after the lunch so that Bihar’s concerns ahead of monsoon could be brought to Modi’s attention once again.

“Chief secretary Anajani Kumar Singh will accompany me,” he said, adding “I will press for sending an expert team, before June 10, for a proper evaluation of the need for silt management policy,” he said.

First Published: May 26, 2017 21:24 IST