Chief election commissioner Nasim Zaidi on Monday said the Bihar chief electoral officer (CEO) will examine any complaint on caste remarks allegedly made by RJD president Lalu Prasad at his opening rally in Raghopur on Sunday and take suitable action if needed.
Speaking to the media about Prasad’s alleged comment that Bihar assembly elections were set to be a “backward versus forward” fight, Zaidi asked the CEO to take cognizance of it. He added, “We will find out what exactly he (Lalu) had said and the CEO will take note of it.”
Zaidi said neither the law nor the provisions of the model code of conduct approved usage of caste to influence voters. “In such cases, action can be taken,” he added.
Lalu’s speech at a rally for his son Tejashwi Yadav in Raghopur also invited a fierce counterattack by the BJP and its allies on Monday.
Senior BJP leader and former deputy chief minister Sushil Kumar Modi said Prasad had once again exposed his mindest. “Lalu has nothing to offer except his caste equations in polls,” said Modi.
He added that while Prasad was playing the caste card, chief minister Nitish Kumar was misleading people on the issue of reservation.
“But I firmly believe that the masses will thwart the evil designs of the duo and support the NDA for development,” he said.
Replying to Prasad’s speech, Modi said it was the NDA government which had given reservation. Also, in 1977, it was because of the intervention of the Jan Sangh that the Karpoori Thakur government had given reservation to people belonging to the backward caste in government services.
Modi said the BJP firmly believed in the system of reservation and it would continue till there was disparity in society.
“Moreover, Lalu Prasad has no right to speak on the issue for he always used the oppressed and the downtrodden to get political mileage,” the BJP leader said.
RLSP leader Upendra Kushwaha could also face the EC’s ire over his alleged comment “note lijiye, vote bhi dijiye (take note and also cast your vote)”.