Sunday, 20 October 2013

President curtails Bihar trip for Narendra Modi's Patna rally

New Delhi: President Pranab Mukherjee on Thursday agreed to revise the date of his visit to Patna as it clashes with a rally scheduled to be addressed by the Bharatiya Janata Party's prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi. 

Earlier, the BJP had accused Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar of creating hurdles by scheduling the President's program on the day Modi is set to address the crowd. 

BJP spokesperson Shahnawaz Hussain and vice president Rajiv Pratap Rudy on Thursday met the President to convince him for revising the date of his visit to Bihar. 

Conceding to the request of the BJP leaders, the President will now return from Patna on October 26 itself, a day before Modi's rally in Bihar's capital. 

Modi is set to address Hunkar rally in Patna’s Gandhi Maidan on October 27. 

After coming out of the Rashtrapati Bhavan, Hussain said: "It was a courtesy call since he is coming to Bihar and our rally is on the 27th." The President has now cancelled his night halt and will return to the national capital on the same day. 

"BJP leaders will be there in Patna on October 26 to welcome President Pranab Mukherjee. It is honour for Bihar to welcome the President on one day and the future Prime Minister of India the next day," said Rudy.

Later, Rashtrapati Bhavan clarified that the President had cancelled the October 27 programme a week back following a request from the organisers. 

The President was scheduled to unveil a statue of Babu Jagjivan Ram which had been cancelled by the organisers. Therefore, the visit is only for a day now, the President's office said. 

Commenting on the change, Janata Dal (United) chief Sharad Yadav said the programme was not organised by the Bihar government but by the President. 

The BJP earlier feared that the President's visit to Patna on October 26 to address the IIT convocation and to Ara on October 27 to unveil the statue of late Jagjivan Ram could disrupt Modi's meeting in Patna on October 27. The opposition leaders felt that the Bihar government could use the President's visit as an excuse to ruin Modi's rally.

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