Patna: Bihar Chief Minister and BJP's ally Nitish Kumar remained seated while Narendra Modi led his supporters in fervently chanting 'Bharat Mata Ki Jai" and "Vande Mataram" in a rally held here yesterday.
The video of the rally at Darbhanga that has gone viral shows Modi and others standing and repeatedly raising the BJP's battle cry "Vande Mataram..." while thrusting their clenched fists into the air.
Those following the lead included LJP chief and Union Minister Ram Vilas Paswan.
Nitish Kumar, whose party JD(U) has made no bones about its differences with the BJP over contentious issues like Triple Talaq and abrogation of Article 370, stayed put in his seat with just a ghost of a smile crossing his face.
The footage aired left social media abuzz with speculations about the next move of the canny Bihar satrap who has made many a turnaround in the last about half decade.
Interestingly, Modi, while addressing the rally had castigated former Bihar minister and RJD candidate from Darbhanga Abdul Bari Siddiqui for his statement that he could not recite the national song as it went against his religious beliefs.
When asked about the JD(U) president's gesture, party spokesman Rajiv Ranjan Prasad said his party was of the view that one's reverence for the country could be shown in many ways.
"But ours is a diverse culture and we ought to respect each other's customs. People must not be coerced into exhibiting their patriotism in one particular way," he told PTI.
Prasad recalled the sacrifices of Paramveer Chakra awardee Havildar Abdul Hamid in the 1965 war and India's victory over Pakistan in 1971, made possible by the military acumen of the likes of Field Marshal Sam Manekshaw and Lieutenant General Jagjit Singh Aurora.
He, however, never tried to brush under the carpet his ideological differences with the saffron party.
Kumar kept Modi at a distance when the latter was still the Chief Minister of Gujarat in the wake of the 2002 communal riots and snapped ties with the BJP when it made him the chief of its election campaign committee ahead of the 2014 general election....