PATNA: When Prime Minister Narendra Modi attends Patna University’s centenary celebrations as chief guest on October 14, he is likely to come face to face with three of his high-profile critics – BJP veteran Yashwant Sinha, RJD chief Lalu Prasad Yadav and BJP leader Shatrughan Sinha.
Sinha, a former Union finance minister in the cabinets of Prime Ministers Chandra Shekhar and Atal Bihari Vajpayee, recently excoriated the Modi government’s economic policies in a newspaper article that generated quite a buzz. The 80-year-old leader is one of Patna University’s 11 oldest students still alive and has been invited to the centenary celebrations.
The Prime Minister’s Office has confirmed Modi’s attendance at the main function to be held at Patna Science College. The PM, who is likely to be accompanied by Union water resources minister Nitin Gadkari, may spend close to an hour at the programme.
Bihar BJP sources said Sinha, who had his post-graduation degree in political science from Patna University and taught there for two years before joining IAS in 1960, will attend the programme. It will be the first time he and Modi will meet since the newspaper article, which blamed demonetisation and GST implementation for the economic slowdown, was published.
Sinha will, however, not be on the dais with Modi. As per preparations finalised by the varsity authorities, those who will share the dais with the PM include Bihar governor Satya Pal Malik, CM Nitish Kumar, deputy CM Sushil Kumar Modi and Union minister Ravishankar Prasad.
RJD chief Lalu Prasad Yadav, a strident critic and political rival of Modi, has also been invited to the function. Before entering mainstream politics, Yadav was elected the general Secretary of Patna University Students’ Union in 1970 and became its president in 1973.
Facing fresh cases of corruption, Yadav and his son Tejaswi Yadav were interrogated for hours by CBI on Thursday and Friday. The father-son duo and their party have accused Modi and BJP of targeting them out of vendetta politics.
Actor-turned-politician and BJP’s Patna Sahib MP Shatrughan Sinha, who has been publicly critical of Modi a number of times in recent months, has also been invited to the PU event. Sinha, also a former Union minister, had praised Yashwant Sinha for his article on the country’s “economic mess”