Apart from offering condolences, Modi also handed a cheque of Rs 5 lakh to the families.
Six days after a series of blasts rocked Patna's Gandhi Maidan during Narendra Modi's Hunkar rally, the BJP's PM candidate returned to Bihar. He said he was there to answer his "call of conscience" and offer his "sympathies" to the families of those killed and injured. His visit triggered a war of words with Bihar's ruling JD(U) and the Congress, who described it as a "political stunt" and accused Modi of "polarising" people.
Modi's return visit coincided with BJP's Asthi Kalash Yatra, which started on Thursday from the villages the six victims belonged to in Supaul, Gopalganj, Begusarai, Nalanda, Kaimur and Patna districts. The Yatra is expected to tour the entire state before reaching Patna for cremation on 5 November. Six persons were killed and 90 injured on 27 October.
Modi's visit to the six families was delayed by two hours because of inclement weather which eventually forced him to skip two villages.
Modi first reached Gaurichak, about 70 km from Patna where he met the family of Rajnarain Singh. He garlanded the photograph of the deceased, offered condolences to the family and handed them a cheque of Rs 5 lakh. He was told that Rajnarain was an ardent follower of Jaiprakash Narayan and had gone to hear Modi without informing his family. Senior BJP leaders promised that the party would erect the statues of all six victims in their respective villages.
Narendra Modi arrived in Patna late on Friday evening and was accorded the status of a "state guest" by the Bihar government. He was staying in Patna's state guest house, right opposite CM Nitish Kumar's residence. Heavy security arrangements were put in place for Modi's visit. Besides, Bihar police personnel, a large contingent of security officials accompanied Modi's. The security apparatus included 35 Black Cat commandos, 70 officials from the Gujarat Police, seven bomb squads. Special helipads had been created in each of the villages where Modi was to visit.
Because of bad weather Modi could not go to Supaul. Instead he called up the family of victim Bharat Rajak. "Spoke to Shankar, the son of Shaheed Bharat Rajak over telephone. People from his village shared a very touching anecdote," Modi tweeted. "Shaheed Bharat Rajak had a pet pigeon who would stay next to his bed. Bharat would not begin his day without feeding grain to the pigeon. Pigeon refused to leave dead body of Bharat and travelled with the body till the funeral. Even now the pigeon stays around Bharat's room," Modi tweeted.
In Gopal Ganj, Modi called up Patna blasts victim Munna Shrivastav's wife and consoled her. Modi tweeted, "Spoke to wife of Shaheed Munna Srivastava on phone. We are all a part of one family and stand by them in this hour of grief." Consoling Srivastava's wife, Modi said, "Your daughter is like my daughter, will take care of her."
He visited Kaimur where he met the wife of victim Vikas Singh. "In Kaimur, met the wife and children of Shaheed Vikas Singh and offered my deepest condolences to the family," Modi tweeted. He later went to Nitish Kumar's bastion Nalanda to meet the family of deceased Rajesh Kumar.
Commenting on Modi's return visit, JD(U) spokesperson, Shivanand Tiwari said, "This is not a 100 metre race. Narendra Modi must understand this. This is a semi-marathon, if not a marathon. There are still five months left and if he continues to remain in such a hurry then I feel he might fall and get hurt."
On Friday, Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar had described the BJP's Asthi-Kalash Yatra as an attempt to create "communal tensions". "Bihar is a place of communal harmony. We all know that attempts are being made to disturb this harmony," he said.
JD(U)'s K.C. Tyagi said, "Modi is visiting Bihar with 1,000 Gujarat policemen. Is Bihar police supposed to work under the Gujarat police?" He said Modi's actions were an insult to the prestige of Bihar.
Bihar's former Deputy Chief Minister Sushil Kumar Modi, who was accompanying Narendra Modi tweeted, "Had @Nkumar made security arrangements for @Namo's Rally what it was in JDU's Rally then Namo wouldn't have visited Bihar again in 1 week."
The Congress accused Modi of polarising society. Congress spokesman and MLA from Deoria, Akhilesh Pratap Singh said, "When the blasts were happening he continued with his speech and waved goodbye and left. Now what is the point of coming back?"
Addressing the media after returning from Nalanda, Modi said that he came to Bihar again because of a call from his conscience. "I had a wish to visit the families of the victims of the Patna serial blasts that happened during my rally last week. Due to bad weather this morning the helicopter could not take off on time and I also could not visit two of the families. But I hope to meet them in future," he said.
SUNDAY GAURDIAN CORRESPONDENT,New Delhi | 2nd Nov 2013