Nitish Kumar shares stage with Modi at NDA rally (Lead)

May 10th, 2009 - 4:15 pm ICT by IANS  

Narendra Modi Ludhiana, May 10 (IANS) After having categorically stated that he would not share the stage with Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi, Bihar Chief Minister and Janata Dal-United (JD-U) leader Nitish Kumar did exactly the opposite Sunday.
Sweeping aside all speculation about his switching sides, Nitish Kumar arrived in this industrial city of Punjab Sunday afternoon to participate in a rally by the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)-led NDA that was meant to be a show of strength of the alliance.

Throughout the rally, Kumar and Modi sat in the front row of top NDA leaders on the same stage.

Modi, who arrived a few minutes late at the rally venue, made it a point to meet Nitish Kumar, who in turn greeted the BJP leader. The two clasped each other’s hand and raised it to greet people. They briefly spoke to each other.

Nitish Kumar had recently said he would not share the stage with Modi during election rallies. He had also opposed a move by a section of BJP leaders to propose Modi’s name for prime ministership.

Nitish Kumar sat next to BJP president Rajnath Singh and the party’s prime ministerial candidate L.K. Advani.

Earlier, Nitish Kumar had said at Patna airport before leaving for the rally that there was no question of his joining any other political formation - the United Progressive Alliance or the so-called Third Front - and he was very much part of the NDA.

Congress general secretary Rahul Gandhi had last week praised Nitish Kumar, triggering speculation that the Congress was trying to break some of the NDA allies for a post-poll alliance in government formation.

Telangana Rashtra Samiti (TRS) leader K. Chandrasekhara Rao, who earlier announced his party’s intention to join the NDA fold, was also at the rally.

The NDA rally is being seen as a show of strength by the BJP to show that its alliance was intact before judgement day May 16.

-Indo-Asian News Service


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