Prime Minister Narendra Modi was all praise for Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar on Thursday, when he lauded Nitish for implementing total prohibition in the state while participating in the 350th birth anniversary celebrations of Guru Gobind Singh Ji Maharaj at Patna’s Gandhi Maidan.
This was Modi’s first visit to Bihar after imposition of liquor ban in Bihar on April 5 as well as November 8 demonetization, that received an unlikely but unequivocal supporter in Nitish.
“It is very difficult to usher in social change. The ‘nasha-mukti abhiyan’ that Nitish ji has taken upon himself, to save the future generations from alcoholism, I heartily congratulate and thank him for it,” Modi said, exhorting all political parties, communities as well as the public to support Nitish to make his endeavour successful.
The PM said Prakash Parv will give more strength to Nitish to carry on with the campaign. “In the coming days, Bihar will be an inspiration to the entire country through successful implementation of the prohibition. Bihar will play a major role in the development of the nation,” Modi said.
Modi also showered praise on Nitish for organising a grand Guru Parv celebrations saying, “I have been told that he personally looked into the arrangements and I congratulate him and his government for the same.” Lakhs of Sikh devotees from across the globe participated in the celebrations.
Earlier, it was the Bihar CM who heaped praise on the PM while referring to total alcohol prohibition in Gujarat, that was headed by Modi for 12 years. “Liquor ban in Bihar is a tribute to Guru Gobind Singh Ji, whose 350th birth anniversary is being celebrated on Thursday. Also Mahatma Gandhi, whose 100 years of Champaran Yatra that marked the foundation of Satyagraha movement, is being celebrated this year,” Nitish said.
After initial aloofness, both Modi and Nitish, who were sporting the same saffron colour turbans, continuously conversed with each other and even shared a few laughs while on the dais. The ice, it appeared was broken by Nitish, who initiated talks, the first as well as several times again during the function.
On his part, Nitish, at least twice, extended a hearty welcome to Modi during his address. The two also shook hands when Nitish took his place beside Modi after delivering his speech.
It may be recalled that JD (U)’s 17-year partnership with the BJP had broken when Modi was announced as NDA’s chief ministerial candidate in 2013. Then, the 2015 Bihar assembly polls had virtually turned into a Nitish versus Modi battle.
Interestingly, Nitish’s alliance partner and RJD boss Lalu Prasad too was present on the occasion, but did not receive any mention from the PM.