President Pranab Mukharjee has obliged BJP leaders by cutting short by a day his two-day Bihar visit, which would have clashed with Narendra Modi’s ‘Hunkar Rally’ slated for October 27.
Senior BJP leaders Shahnawaz Hussain and Rajiv Pratap Rudy, both from Bihar, met Pranab on Thursday to request him to revise the schedule of his visit.
“The President told us that he will visit Bihar on October 26 to attend the first convocation of IIT, Patna and return to Delhi the same day,” Hussain said.
As per the earlier schedule, he was to visit Ara on October 27 to unveil the statue of former Deputy Prime Minister Babu Jagjivan Ram.
Modi’s rally assumes immense political significance as it will be the BJP’ first show of strength after the party was dumped by its ally of 17 years, the JD(U), which had kept Bihar out of bounds for the Gujarat Chief Minister.
BJP leader Sushil Kumar Modi had alleged that Chief Minister Nitish Kumar invited the President on the rally day just for scuttling the Modi show.
“Our rally schedule was announced way back on March 20 and everyone was aware that there would be a huge gathering, like the earlier rallies of Narendra Modi. So how can the state government give the green signal to the President’s visit on the same day?” the former Deputy Chief Minister had said.
Reacting strongly to the BJP’s allegations, Nitish said the presidential visit had been finalised by Rashtrapati Bhavan and the state government had nothing to do with it.