Bihar’s ruling Janata Dal (United) on Friday suspended Islampur MLA Rajiv Ranjan, who had proposed the enactment of a new law to legalise corruption in the state, from the party.
Ranjan’s suspension comes exactly five days after he had told HT that corruption had pervaded public life in Bihar to such an extent that it would be best to legalise it.
State unit chief Bashistha Narayan Singh said the suspension order was issued by party national general secretary KC Tyagi on the direction of JD(U) president Sharad Yadav.
“The JD(U) national leadership was in the know of Ranjan’s anti-party utterances and decided to crack the whip on him,” Singh told HT.
Undeterred by the action, Ranjan announced he is going to the United States for a month.
“I will launch a public awareness campaign against corruption once I return,” he declared.
Ranjan claimed he was suspended at the behest of Rashtriya Janata Dal chief Lalu Prasad, his party’s new electoral ally.
“My utterances on corruption also pinched the leadership as I was expressing the ground reality,” he added.
He had said he had been driven to make the extreme and unusual demand out of frustration and anger he felt on account of the Bihar government's inability to control corruption.
"If you can't rein in corruption, you should legalise it," argued Ranjan, the ruling party MLA from Islampur in Nalanda, the native district of former chief minister Nitish Kumar.
"The fair thing to do in the prevailing situation is to legislate and adopt a new law by the name of right to bribe, on the lines of RTI and right to service (RTS)," Ranjan had said on Monday.
Ranjan had also declared he would move a private member’s resolution for a new law to lend legal sanctity to the all-pervading practice of taking bribe, during the next session of the Bihar legislature.
Ranjan's 'outburst' embarrassed the Jitan Ram Manjhi-regime and the ruling party and Shravan Kumar, parliamentary affairs minister and party’s chief whip in the Bihar assembly, had said disciplinary action against him was ‘inevitable’.
“As promised at the time, action has been taken against Ranjan, who had crossed the party leadership’s limit of tolerance by his utterances on corruption,” Shravan Kumar told HT on Friday.
For his part, Ranjan has also vowed to launch a campaign against ‘Jungle Raj-2’in Bihar.
His statement appears to echo the BJP stand that the alliance between the Lalu-led RJD and the ruling JD(U) would herald the return of ‘jungle raj’.
‘Jungle raj’ refers to the bleak law and order situation under Lalu Prasad (1990-97) and then his wife Rabri Devi (1997-2004), the campaign against which brought Nitish Kumar-led NDA to office in November 2005.