Sparks have started to fly within the six-month-old Bihar government following the murder of senior journalist Rajdeo Ranjan in Siwan and the subsequent shifting of local strongman and former RJD parliamentarian Mohd Shahabuddin to Bhagalpur central jail.
The sudden transfer of the Rashtriya Janata Dal leader from Siwan jail has irked party leaders and on Friday, the RJD -- an alliance partner of the Janata Dal (United) in government -- joined the Opposition chorus in criticising chief minister Nitish Kumar over the declining state of law and order.
An RJD leader Mohammed Taslimuddin even demanded Kumar’s resignation for his failure to control crime.
“Nitish Kumar should resign and understand his failures,” he said in Patna after the RJD central parliamentary board Friday meeting that was attended by senior party leaders including party chief Lalu Prasad.
As Kumar holds the home portfolio, the law and order failure has to be pinned to him, Taslimuddin said.
He was joined by senior RJD leader Prabhunath Singh in criticising the state government’s working.
“If Shahabuddin was holding durbars in jail, it only shows the administrative weakness of the government. If durbars were being held regularly what were the officials doing,” asked RJD leader and former MP Singh.
Singh also said that the media trial launched against former Siwan MP is also not fair. “Why is his name being taken repeatedly? Has he been named in any of the investigations,” asked Singh.
Shahabuddin was shifted to Bhagalpur central jail following a surprise raid on Wednesday when 63 people who came to attend his “durbar” were detained and 38 mobiles were seized from them.
It is said that ‘order’ to kill Siwan journalist was made from jail, though the ex-MP has not been named by investigators or the police brass.
The murder of Ranjan – the Siwan bureau chief of Hindustan newspaper – triggered widespread outrage and the police detained a top aide of Shahabuddin for questioning.
This is not the first time that RJD MP Taslimuddin has attacked CM Kumar. Last Monday, he said Kumar is not “PM material” and he is “day dreaming of becoming the prime minister” as he has failed to provide “sushashan” (good governance) in Bihar.
“Nitish Kumar is not PM material. How can a person run the country who could not provide sushashan in his own state, which is witnessing a spate of killings,” Taslimuddin had said.
Another senior party leader and vice-president Raghuvansh Prasad Singh had been targeting Kumar and had called him “selfish” in “projecting himself as a leader” of a possible anti-BJP front. He said Kumar seemed to have decided to “go alone” on trips across the nation without consulting the RJD and other parties.
The JD (U) reacted strongly to demands for Kumar resignations and said that the question doesn’t arise.
“When his own party leaders are not taking him seriously, why should we take cognizance of such utterances,” said JD (U) spokesperson Neeraj Kumar.
“Prabhunath Singh should know that former Siwan MP was shifted as per jail manual and following reports from district magistrate. We don’t care for Taslimuddin’s utterances as his intentions and leanings are not clear,” he said.