Visuals by news agency ANI showed Nitish Kumar and Amit Shah smiling as the chief minister handed the home minister a startlingly pink bouquet of flowers.
Shah is in Bihar for the 163rd birth anniversary of Veer Kunwar Singh, the then king of Jagdishpur and regarded as one of the heroes of the 1857 Revolt.
Bonhomie between Amit Shah and Nitish Kumar should, some will hope, end talk about the latter’s Iftar visit.
He reportedly spent a good 20 minutes at the home of his rivals – someone against whom he fought a bitter campaign before the 2020 state election.
Nitish Kumar was also photographed with Rabri Devi and her sons – Tejashwi and Tej Pratap – in a visit that came hours after RJD founder Lalu Yadav was given bail by the Jharkhand High Court in a fodder scam case.
On Saturday, before going to receive Amit Shah, Nitish Kumar waved aside talk his visit was a ‘message’ to allies BJP. “Many people are invited to such Iftar parties. What connection does it have with politics?” he asked.
Tejashwi Yadav – who spars often with Nitish Kumar on governance issues – also slammed the buzz over political links. His brother, though, was more cryptic; “This is politics. .. today he is in power, tomorrow there could be a change. ..”
The BJP and Nitish Kumar’s JDU retained power after the 2020 election but the latter’s poor showing – the JDU won only 43 seats to the BJP’s 74 – meant power dynamic had flipped, leaving the BJP the dominant alliance member.
Ties between the two parties have been uneasy since, with the BJP taking the lead in key decisions – like the eviction of LJP leader Chirag Paswan from a Delhi bungalow allotted to his father, the late union minister Ram Vilas Paswan.
Speculation that Nitish Kumar is now eyeing a Rajya Sabha seat – after 16 years as a chief minister – has added to the tension, particularly given the apparent revival of the Rashtriya Janata Dal.
The RJD emerged as the single-largest party with 75 seats, renewed vigour and predictions Tejaswhi Yadav would become chief minister in the next election.
With input from ANI