After addressing a huge rally in Patna today, Prime Minister Narendra Modi was provided a lavish vegetarian meal with Chief Minister Nitish Kumar, Lalu Yadav, and his two sons among the A-listers at the lunch.
The all-vegetarian meal was catered by Premi Halwai, famous in the district of Tarn Taran in Punjab. The PM, top Punjab leaders and the Bihar government were celebrating the 350th birth anniversary of Guru Gobind Singh, who was born in Bihar and is revered among Sikhs.
Prime Minister Modi added some zing to the meal by joking around with Tej Pratap Yadav, Bihar’s 28-year-old Health Minister and older son of Lalu Yadav, whose party is a member of the ruling coalition in Bihar. “Aap toh Kishan Kanhaiya ho gaye hain (you are becoming a likeness of Krishna),” teased the PM, referring to Tej Pratap Yadav’s visit to Mathura last month, the birthplace of Lord Krishna and a recent photograph of him playing the flute, the instrument that the deity is usually depicted with.
While the PM’s one-liner got great response, it also left politicians privately unnerved – they later asked how he manages to keep tabs on so many of them.
The PM’s visit to Patna brought him face-to-face for the first time with Chief Minister Kumar since he launched the demonetisation drive in November. Mr Kumar, whose main political trademarks once included hard-core animosity for the PM, has been the only major opposition leader to pledge his support of the notes ban. At the rally today, PM Modi returned the favour, offering praise for the alcohol ban that Mr Kumar has introduced in Bihar and refused to revise, despite wide criticism of it as too rigid.