PM talks to Nitish, discussed only flood relief?May 12th, 2009 - 7:53 pm ICT by IANS
New Delhi/Patna, May 12 (IANS) Prime Minister Manmohan Singh called up Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar Tuesday, but the two did not discuss politics but use of funds for flood relief, an official said.
“Yes, the prime minister called up the Bihar chief minister and it was a talk on the relief measures for those in the Kosi region,” said Deepak Sandhu, the prime minister’s media adviser.
According to the chief minister’s aides, it was a lengthy conversation and “other issues” were also discussed.
During the poll campaign, Congress leaders, including the prime minister, had accused the Bihar government of not utilising central funds for Kosi flood relief optimally.
However, Nitish Kumar hit back saying the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government had reneged on its promise and the Rs.1,000 crore it received in relief fund had been well spent.
On the last day of campaigning Monday, Manmohan Singh had questioned Nitish Kumar’s secular credentials after he shared the dais with Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi at a National Democratic Alliance (NDA) rally in Ludhiana.
“There is no doubt Nitish Kumar professes to be a secular leader,” the prime minister said. However, he added that “a doubt arose” after he saw the two leaders share a platform.
Nitish Kumar, however, responded by saying: “He (Manmohan Singh) should not behave like a vice chancellor of the University of Secularism. He is distributing certificates of secularism. I don’t need his certificate.
Last week, Congress general secretary Rahul Gandhi had praised Nitish Kumar, leading to speculation that the Congress was courting him ahead of May 16. However, Nitish Kumar scotched all speculation about his intentions by attending the NDA’s show of strength in Ludhiana Sunday.
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