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Patna Univ Invites BJP leaders for Centenary, Opposition Leaders Cry Foul

Trying to do damage control at the last moment, Patna University vice-chancellor Ras Bihari Singh extended invitation to Lalu Prasad Yadav, Yashwant Sinha and Shatrughan Sinha on Friday.

Alok Kumar | News18dmalok

Updated:October 13, 2017, 7:11 PM IST
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Patna Univ Invites BJP leaders for Centenary, Opposition Leaders Cry Foul
RJD chief Lalu Prasad Yadav. (Reuters)
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Patna: A day before Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to Patna University, a controversy around invitations sent for the programme refused to die down.

Trying to do damage control at the last moment, Patna University vice-chancellor Ras Bihari Singh extended invitation to Rashtriya Janata Dal chief Lalu Prasad Yadav, along with BJP leaders Yashwant Sinha and Shatrughan Sinha on Friday.

However, they had already decided to make a point by not participate in the event organised as a part of the university’s centenary celebrations.

While Lalu has been a vocal critic of the BJP, both Yashwant and Shatrughan seem to have been sidelined in the party.

The leaders expressed their displeasure at not getting invited despite being alumni of the university in public. The university did publicise the participation of other leaders and ministers who are former students of the university but by then, a controversy had taken root.

Administration of the institution defended its actions saying ministers are busy so they were informed first and they are still in the process of sending invitations to others.

The university, invited its old students and now Union ministers, Ram Vilas Paswan, Ravi Shankar Prasad, JP Nadda, Prakash Javadekar and Upendra Kushwaha, who will all share the dais with the PM. Bihar deputy chief minister Sushil Modi will also be there.

Lalu and Sushil started their political careers as students’ union leaders together from the university. Lalu was elected president of the student union in 1973 while Sushil was general secretary.

The controversy began after the RJD complained that their leader did not get an invitation. On Friday, BN College Principal Rajkishore Prasad on Friday went personally with a printed invitation to Lalu’s residence.

But his elder son and former health minister Tej Pratap Yadav told News18 that his father was in Delhi and the invitation was not sent with the right intent. According to the seating arrangement, Lalu’s name figure in VVIP category who will be seated on the front row and not on the dais. This decision has irked his party RJD.

“My father has been humiliated. There is no point to consider the invitation. Anyway he is in Delhi and he won’t participate in the program,” he said.

BJP leader Giriraj Singh took a jibe at Lalu, saying, “He was comfortable on the carpet when Nitish and Modi shared the dais during Prakashotsav ceremony in Patna last year. So, why is he hesitant this time?”

An invitation to Shatrughan, who has been critical of his own party, was also been sent on Friday afternoon. A hard copy of the invitation was delivered at his Patna residence and a mail has also been sent to him. However, he attacked the university administration, accusing it of playing politics on campus.

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| Edited by: Ashish Yechury
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