The exchange of greetings between BJP veteran L.K Advani and Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar at the National Integration Council meeting in New Delhi on Monday – the first since the NDA allies parted ways – has kicked up a political storm in the State with the Opposition RJD terming the meeting as ‘match fixing’.

“We have been saying from the beginning that Nitish Kumar has severed his relationship with Narendra Modi-BJP but is still with Advani-BJP. The meeting is a clear indicator of match fixing between the JD(U) and the BJP to split secular votes in the coming Parliamentary elections,” RJD Secretary General Ramkripal Yadav said at a party function at Nalanda, after clips of the Advani-Kumar meeting appeared on TV channels.

“Advani has been a guru to Nitish Kumar. How can he [Kumar] go away from him? The separation of the two parties is just a drama to divide secular votes,” Mr. Yadav said.

Bihar JD(U) president Bashist Narayan Singh, however, was quick to defend Mr. Kumar’s move while accusing the Opposition of ‘politicising everything’. “Meeting Advani is part of a normal courtesy. Such practices make democracy strong,” Mr. Singh stated.

“Advaniji is among the few surviving veterans of Indian politics. After working together for so many years what is the harm in wishing one another despite being in separate parties?” he asked. “We meet people associated with the JP movement despite the fact that some of them are in different parties, ” Mr. Singh pointed out. “The decision to break up [with the BJP] is final and based on our party ideology. Hence making political statements out of a courtesy meeting does not hold any importance,” he said.