Odisha Sun Times Bureau
Bhubaneswar, Mar 7:
After attending the last rites of former Lok Sabha Speaker Rabi Ray at his native village at Bhanragarh, Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar today called on his Odisha counterpart at Naveen Niwas here, fanning speculation of formation of ‘Third Front’ by non-BJP parties.
Nitish Kumar and JD (U) president Sharad Yadav met Naveen Patanik at his residence where the former termed the purpose of meeting as personal and not political. The duo met Patnaik separately.
“I had met Naveen ji in New Delhi few months ago. After taking over the responsibility of Bihar as Chief Minister, I hardly got time to meet him. I am meeting him as we have a personal relationship,” Nitish Kumar said.
Notably, Nitish along with his party colleague Sharad Yadav had flown down to the capital city this afternoon to pay their last tributes to Rabi Ray – the former Lok Sabha Speaker and frontline socialist leader.
Sharad Yadav too expressed that it was a courtesy call.
“It was a courtesy visit. Whenever I visit Odisha, I meet Naveen Babu. I share a family relationship. There was no talk on Third Front. The ensuing UP elections was discussed during the meeting,” Yadav said.
Besides, the recently-concluded Panchayat polls in Odisha was discussed during the meeting, Yadav added.
Earlier in the day, Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik, Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar, Odisha Governor S.C. Jamir, Nobel laureate Kailash Satyarthi and other leaders paid floral tributes to Ray at Lohia Academy here.
“I am deeply saddened by Ray’s demise. He was a Gandhian and a great socialist leader. We have spent lot of time together. He used to show us path and had a remarkable tenure as the Lok Sabha Speaker. His death is a great loss to Indian politics,” said Nitish Kumar.