Sonia Gandhi is expected to lay the foundation stone of the Aligarh Muslim University centre on January 30. (File photo)
A row has erupted over the launch of a wing of the Uttar Pradesh-based Aligarh Muslim University in Bihar, with the Nitish Kumar administration accusing the Centre of ignoring the state government for the event.
Congress president Sonia Gandhi is scheduled to lay the foundation stone of the Aligarh Muslim University's centre at Kishanganj, almost 400 km north of Patna, on January 30.
But the Union Human Resources Ministry has not invited Chief Minister Nitish Kumar or any other Bihar government official for the ceremony. Governor Dr DY Patil, though, has been invited.
The state government has objected to the manner in which the ceremony has been planned, saying it was Nitish Kumar who provided over 200 acres of land "free of cost" for setting up the centre "in a record time" two years ago.
Bihar's Human Resources Minister PK Sahi has written a letter to the Centre protesting against what he described as "a deliberate attempt to ignore the state government."
The letter also said the "foundation-laying ceremony of a government institution cannot be a political programme nor can it be aimed as an election plank."
With national elections now months away, politics over the largest minority institution in the country was perhaps inevitable.