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Short-Lived Bonhomie? Nitish Kumar’s Latest Move May Not Please PM Modi

Short-Lived Bonhomie? Nitish Kumar’s Latest Move May Not Please PM Modi

PATNA: Nitish Kumar’s bonhomie with Prime Minister Narendra Modi seems to have hit a trough just days after they swapped high praise. The Bihar Chief Minister has made it clear that his opposition to a Uniform Civil Code stands. Mr Kumar has not just rejected the proposal in a 16-point questionnaire sent by the National Law Commission, but has also urged it to consult the “affected parties”. A Uniform Civil Code would mean same family laws for all religions and communities. After taking his law department’s opinion, the Chief Minister explained to his cabinet colleagues that one can’t even think of such vital change being contemplated on a “yes or no” basis. His cabinet colleagues, especially from the Congress and Lalu Yadav’s Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) are relieved that the Chief Minister has made it clear that despite his recent camaraderie with PM Modi, he has not revised his party’s stand on the Uniform Civil Code and other issues which are at the core of the ruling BJP’s ideology. Over the past few days, all visible signs have pointed at the mellowing of one of PM Modi’s sharpest critics. Taking a detour from the opposition’s aggressive campaign against the centre’s notes ban and facing the anger of leaders like Mamata Banerjee, Mr Kumar said he fully supported PM Modi’s anti-corruption move. The Prime Minister returned the favour last week at a public meeting in Patna’s Gandhi Maidan to mark the birth anniversary of Guru Govind Singh. He praised Mr Kumar’s move to ban liquor in Bihar. The mutual admiration rattled many, especially leaders of Mr Kumar’s coalition partner RJD. So when the Chief Minister informed quota campaigner Hardik Patel that he will not be able to join him at a rally in Gujarat later this month as earlier planned, it was immediately connected to the visuals of Mr Kumar and PM Modi laughing together, wearing identical saffron turbans.

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