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Giriraj Singh roils NDA in Bihar with remark on Iftar

Giriraj Singh. File  

Union Minister Giriraj Singh’s remarks on the presence of Chief Minister Nitish Kumar and Deputy Chief Minister Sushil Kumar Modi at an Iftar in Patna appeared to widen the rift in the ruling NDA in Bihar, with several politicians reacting sharply to the comments.

On Tuesday, Mr. Singh tweeted in Hindi, along with the photographs of Mr. Kumar and Mr. Modi attending Iftar events hosted by Hindustani Awam Morcha (Secular) leader Jitan Ram Manjhi and the Lok Janshakti Party, an ally of the NDA, in Patna on Sunday and Monday.

“How beautiful would it have been had a fruit feast been organised during Navratra with the same fervour and similar photographs been taken. Why do we lag behind in observance of our own religious customs and ceremonies, while staying ahead in putting on a show in observing those of others?” tweeted Mr. Singh, considered a close confidant of BJP president Amit Shah.

Earlier, Mr. Kumar had not only attended the Iftar hosted by Mr. Manjhi but had also received an invitation from the opposition Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) to rejoin the mahagathbandhan (grand alliance). Ever since the JD(U) leader decided last week that his party would not join the Union Council of Ministers led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi for having being offered only a “symbolic representation”, ties between the JD(U) and the BJP are said to have suffered a strain. Though the State BJP and JD(U) leaders have publicly denied any rift, speaking privately to The Hindu some have admitted that “all has not been going well and anything is possible in the near future in Bihar between the two parties”.

Reacting to Mr. Singh’s remark, Mr. Kumar remarked to reporters, “Isiliye ye sab karte hain, taaki aap log news banayiye (he [Mr. Singh] does these things so that you can make news of it)”. And his deputy and senior State BJP leader Mr. Modi asserted, “There is no rift in the NDA…we celebrate both Iftar and Holi with equal zest and we feel proud of being Hindu”.

‘Warn him, not BJP’

However, the JD(U)’s newly appointed State Building Construction Minister Ashok Chaudhury reacted: “Has anybody stopped Giriraj Singh from arranging fruit feast during Navratra? I wish to warn him, not the BJP but him alone, that he must refrain from making such statements”.

With Mr. Singh’s remarks proving to be an embarrassment to the State BJP, it was left to Mr. Shah to intervene. The BJP President had admonished the Begusarai MP and asked him to refrain from making statements, PTI  reported, citing a BJP leader.

Earlier, LJP leader Chirag Paswan said, “Our party would like to tell him that we celebrate all festivals.”

(With PTI inputs)

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Printable version | Oct 19, 2021 5:13:07 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/giriraj-singh-remark-on-iftar-draws-rebuke-from-amit-shah-flak-from-jdu/article27465275.ece

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