"The exchange of greetings by leaders of different political parties is routine practice and take place as per established political protocol," the former deputy Chief Minister Sushil Kumar Modi told reporters in a reply to a question.

"Political adversaries must exchange pleasantries and refrain from practicing untouchability," he said and sought to play down a brief exchange of greetings between Advani and Kumar - the first such instance of face-to-face encounter between the BJP and the JD(U) leaders after the two parties split over the Gujarat Chief Minister's elevation as his party's poll campaign panel chief three months ago.

"It's good that the Bihar Chief Minister went upto the BJP patriarch and exchanged pleasantries with him," Modi said. The former deputy Chief Minister, at the same time, did not forget to nudge Kumar for expressing cold vibes towards his Gujarat counterpart when the two had attended a function at the Vigyan Bhawan in New Delhi earlier year.

It may be mentioned that Kumar and Advani greeted each other at the National Integration Council (NIC) function in New Delhi earlier in the day that raised many an eyebrows in political circles. Both the Bihar Chief Minister and the BJP patriarch have been known to be staunchly opposed to the Gujarat Chief Minister's elevation first as his party's poll campaign panel chief and subsequently as the prime ministerial candidature.

Both Kumar and Advani had reacted strongly to Modi's rise in the BJP hierarchy with the former splitting his party - JD(U) - from the NDA, while the latter had abstained from the national executive at Goa and the parliamentary board meeting where the Gujarat Chief Minister was elevated as the BJP poll campaign panel chief and the prime ministerial candidate respectively.


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