After intense rivalry, bonhomie between Modi, Nitish surprises many

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The chemistry was in full display between the Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar at a function in Hajipur in Vaishali district, where several railway projects were flagged off.

When Prime Minister Narendra Modi paid a visit to Bihar on Saturday all eyes were on the imminent fireworks that would take place between Modi and Kumar , but what followed was a surprise to one and all. The duo flashed smiles, praised each other, laughed together, shook hands and were, generally, comfortable in each other’s company thereby setting off a buzz in political circles.

At the closing ceremony of Patna High Court’s centenary celebrations, both leaders appeared formal and kept their distance. But at the Hajipur function their body language had suddenly changed.

It was Kumar who started it all when he addressed the crowd. He told Modi “after the State Assembly elections this is the first time that you have visited Bihar. I wish that you visit the state frequently to give a hand in its development. The progress of the nation is dependent on Bihar’s development.

Besides thanking the Centre for the railway projects, Kumar noted with happiness that it had taken up the Mahatma Gandhi Setu bridge project over the river Ganga.

Turning towards Modi, Kumar said, “I expect full cooperation from you now that the central and the state governments have come together to serve the people. This will certainly give pace to Bihar’s development.”

Praising Kumar, Modi when he rose to speak, said, “Things have started to move in the past 18 months in Bihar. The state was neglected for the past decade.”

Taking a jibe against the UPA government, Modi said, “This railway project was taken up by Nitish Kumar when he was railway minister in Atalji’s cabinet.”

Agreeing, Kumar said the work for Digha-Sonepur rail-cum-road bridge as well as the bridge in Munger had started way back in 2002. “I am happy that the work started then is now being dedicated to the nation.”