Patna: Rashtriya Janata Dal chief Lalu Prasad Yadav and BJP leader Shatrughan Sinha stayed away from the Patna University’s centenary celebrations on Saturday as the 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 had extended invitations at the eleventh hour. However, the two had already decided to make a point by not participating in the event.
Patna University 11 hour
Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the chief guest for the event and addressed the students in his first visit to the state after forming a coalition with Nitish Kumar.
While Lalu has a vocal critic of the BJP, Shatrughan seem to have sidelined in the party. In a series of tweets, he said he could not make it to the event as he got the invitation very late. “I got an invitation, alas very late and with a very short notice…delayed by the ‘more loyal than the King’s people’ involved,” he wrote.
The two leaders had expressed their displeasure in public at not getting invited despite alumni of the university. The university did publicise the participation of other leaders and ministers, who former students of the university but by then, a controversy had taken root.
Administration of the institution defended its actions saying ministers busy so they informed first and they still in the process of sending invitations to others.
University Old students
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 had started their political careers as students’ union leaders together from the university. Lalu 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 in Delhi and the invitation not sent with the right intent. According to the seating arrangement, Lalu’s name figured in VVIP category, who will seated on the front row and not on the dais. This decision irked his party RJD.
Politics on campus
“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 critical of his own party, also sent on Friday afternoon. A hard copy of the invitation delivered at his Patna residence and a mail has also sent to him. However, he attacked the university administration, accusing it of playing politics on campus.