The ruling JD(U) has spied a ‘caste angle’ in the election commission’s move last Wednesday to axe a serving Bihar DM and three SPs for their allegedly inappropriate conduct during the on-going poll process.
Senior party leaders have described the EC move as “illogical and unfortunate”, based on untrue complaints lodged by BJP and Congress leaders and guided by the consideration that the officers belonged to the ‘backward castes’.
The allegation came from JD(U) Rajya Sabha MP Ali Anwar and a clutch of state JD(U) office-bearers, including general secretaries Navin Kumar Arya and Ravindra Singh and EBC cell chief Chandreshwar Prasad Chandravanshi.
“These officers were targeted because they belonged to backward and extremely backward castes, categories of people among which the JD-U enjoys strong support”, Anwar told HT on Friday.
He claimed the officers were not given an opportunity to have their say on the complaints against them. “The idea appears to have demoralised officers ahead of the Lok Sabha poll,” the JD(U) MP said.
Endorsing Anwar’s point, party spokesman Niraj Kumar said there did not appear to be sufficient ground to remove these officers. “Caste is a reality. Its role in the transfers cannot be ruled out”, he said.
But Bihar BJP president Mangal Pandey said the JD(U) was “trying to play the caste card” in a bid to prop up its sagging prospects for the ensuing Lok Sabha poll. “Browbeating the EC will not help its cause.”
The officers who have been transferred out on EC orders include Bhojpur DM Pankaj Pal, Muzaffarpur SP Saurabh Kumar, Samastipur SP Chandrika Prasad and Katihar SP Asgar Imam.
Patna Sadar subdivisional officer Mohammad Nayar Iqbal and Saran Sadar subdivisional police officer Manish Kumar Singh have also been removed.