Legislators of the grand alliance (GA) have a knack for putting Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar in a tough spot by breaking the law with disconcerting regularity.
The latest incident involves Janata Dal(United) legislator Manorama Devi’s son Rocky Yadav, who allegedly shot dead a Class 12 student with his licenced pistol on a trivial issue of overtaking in Gaya.
Her husband, Bindeshwari Prasad Yadav also known as Bindi Yadav, is known in the area for his muscle and money power.
The National Democratic Alliance leaders in Bihar are already pointing fingers at the state of affairs saying that the murder of the student has once again proved that the ‘Jungle Raj 2’ is back in Bihar. Jungle Raj is a euphemism for deteriorating law and order when the Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) was in power.
This year, a number of alliance ‘bahubali’ or strongman legislators have already created uncomfortable situations for Kumar on his home turf.
It all started with JD(U) MLA Sarfaraz Alam, who was in the news for allegedly misbehaving with a couple on the Rajdhani Express. The incident caused a huge uproar but he later got a bail.
Congress MLA Sidharth grabbed headlines after being accused of kidnapping a girl. The girl’s father lodged a case against him, but in a dramatic turn of events, she appeared before Patna SSP Manu Maharaj to reveal that she had actually married the MLA’s driver.
The MLA and his father were also present during the press conference. She gave the MLA a clean chit and police accepted it.
Rashtriya Janata Dal’s (RJD)‘bahubali’ MLA from Nawada, Raj Ballabh Yadav, is in the jail after a Nawada schoolgirl accused him of raping her. He evaded arrest for a long time, but had to ultimately surrender on March 10.
Raj Ballabh, known for his clout in Nawada and a criminal past, was denied bail by a Biharsharief court on Monday, stating that he might influence the probe if he is set free. Police have already filed a detailed chargesheet in the case.
JD(U) MLA Bima Bharati and Purnea MP Santosh Kushwaha were accused of allegedly being involved in the escape of notorious gangster Awadesh Mandal on January 17.
More recently, a sting video showed Narkatiaganj Congress MLA Vinay Verma offering alcohol to his guests in another embarrassment to the Nitish government that imposed a complete ban on sale and consumption of liquor on April 5. Two FIRs were lodged against him. However, during raids at his residence, liquor could not be found.
Mokama legislator and former JD(U) leader Anant Singh is already in jail. Over a dozen cases of murder, extortion and kidnapping have been lodged against him at Kotwali, SK Puri, Shashtri Nagar, Patliputra and Bahadurpur police stations. The jailed MLA has got bail in six of them but is behind the bars in connection with other criminal cases.
All this has given the opposition BJP enough ammunition to attack the Nitish government for “allowing the state to slip into Jungle Raj”. They have renewed their pre-poll allegation that his tie-up with RJD chief Lalu Prasad, who along with his wife Rabri Devi ruled the state for 15 years until 2005, is promoting “Jungle Raj 2” in the state.
Kumar, on his part, has been claiming credit for ‘much-improved law and order’ due to enforcement of prohibition and trying to play down such incidents as aberrations.
“The BJP is trying to politicise crime incidents. The fact is that Bihar is way behind in crime compared to BJP-ruled states, as per National Crime Record Bureau (NCRB) data,” he said on Monday after his weekly ‘janata durbar’.
On the Gaya road rage issue, Kumar said while there was no control over criminal incidents, the follow-up action is what matters the most.
“Who can guarantee that no criminal incident will take place? There are many facets to a crime. But there is a rule of law in the state which implies that anybody involved in a crime cannot escape the long arm of the law,” the CM said reacting to a question that the BJP is claiming the incident to be an endorsement of the “return of Jungle Raj.
The chief minister was also critical of the BJP for its attempt to attach an “angle” to an act of crime.
“It is more important to bring the culprit to book than to ponder over the person involved. We attach more importance on ‘what’ happened than ‘who’ is involved. This helps us to deal with the situation with an even hand,” Kumar said.