Patna, Sep 5 (IANS) Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar on Saturday did not meet Prime Minister Narendra Modi during his visit to Bodh Gaya, as he had other engagements and the PMO did not consult the state government before finalising the schedule, a JD-U spokesperson said.
Bihar minister Shayam Razak received Modi in the Buddhist holy city as the state government representative, as the chief minister was busy with other engagements in Patna, said ruling Janata Dal-United spokesperson Neeraj Kumar.
“The Prime Minister’s Office did not consult the state government before finalising the schedule of Prime Minister Modi, and the chief minister has as usual a number of engagements. So he sent a minister to receive Modi, there is nothing into it,” the spokesperson said.
An official in the Chief Minister’s Office said here that protocol did not require the chief minister to receive Modi in Bodh Gaya or attend a programme or see him off.
Modi was in Bodh Gaya, about 110 km from Patna, to attend the concluding ceremony of the three-day international Buddhist conclave. This was his first visit as prime minister.
“Modi offered prayers at the 1,500-year-old Mahabodhi temple, the holiest Buddhist shrine, and circumambulated the Mahabodhi tree under which Lord Buddha is said to have attained enlightenment 2,550 years ago,” an official said.
A political observer said Modi’s ‘DNA’ remark against Nitish Kumar at a BJP rally in Muzaffarpur on July 25, followed by other comments in three more rallies in Gaya, Saharsa and Bhagalpur, forced the chief minister to avoid meeting him.
“Though Nitish Kumar received Modi at the Patna airport on August 18, he did not accompany him to Ara town in Bhajpur district where Modi announced the Rs.1.25 lakh crore special package for Bihar. After that, both leaders have been engaged in a war of words and missing no chance to target each other ahead of the assembly election,” political observer Satyanarain Madan said.