Hours after the serial blasts at the Narendra Modi rally venue in Patna on Sunday, Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar sounded defensive in face of BJP allegations of “lax security” and “criminal negligence”.
“Despite our repeated warnings to the administration, the government did not take required measures,” said former deputy chief minister Sushil Kumar Modi at a media conference in the afternoon. Coming on the heels of the state’s refusal to provide Narendra Modi with a bullet proof SUV and the Gujarat government’s subsequent offer to supply jammers and other necessary equipment, the comment hit hard.
“Different political parties had been opposing each other on the basis of policies and ideologies, but there was no history of confrontation at such a level,” Kumar said at a hurriedly called media meet. "Today's blasts indicate a conspiracy. We should remain united at this hour and work together to suppress the elements bent on vitiating the atmosphere in Bihar."
Kumar made two other key points: There was no security lapse and there was no intelligence input about the attack from the state or the central agencies.
The state, he said, had provided adequate security for the rally. "A good number of policemen and security officers were deployed at the venue. I had personally directed senior officers to look into the security aspect around Gandhi Maidan when an abandoned suitcase was found near twin towers," he said.
But the BJP was having none of it.
State BJP president Mangal Pandey said he had met the district magistrate and the police and expressed apprehensions about untoward incidents at the railway station and Gandhi Maidan, but no steps were taken.
Sushil Modi had an extra volley to fire. The state government, he said, had dismissed the first blast as a cracker burst.