Chief minister Nitish Kumar on Wednesday directed IG (prisons) to probe the circumstances in which a minister of his cabinet met incarcerated former MP of Siwan Mohammad Shahabuddin in Siwan jail.
The direction came on the back of uproar in the state assembly and difference of opinion within the RJD, to which minority affairs minister Abdul Gafoor belongs, as well as a studied stance of the JD(U).
While the chief minister said he had sought a report from the IG, top RJD leaders jumped again to the defence of Gafoor, with former chief minister Rabri Devi leading the way.
“Shahabuddin is being targeted for he belongs to minority community. Don’t BJP leaders go to jail to meet their leaders? When people go to meet heavyweight politicians like Anant Singh and Rama Singh in jail, why is there no such hullaballoo? Disrupting house proceedings over such issues is a wrong practice,” she said.
Her younger son Tejashwi Prasad Yadav accused the opposition of attempting to create a mountain out of a mole hill, but there was an interesting twist to the episode.
Rabri’s elder son and health minister Tej Pratap Yadav called the visit ‘morally wrong’, bringing to fore the RJD’s flip flop on Gafoor’s interaction with the Siwan strongman.
“The minister should not have visited the jail. This is highly condemnable. And even if he had met the former MP in jail, he should not have posed for photographs,” Tej Pratap said.
Incidentally, JD(U) leaders were not so forthcoming over the episode with party’s state spokesperson Neeraj Kumar shying away from making a comment.
Another state spokesperson of the JD(U), Sanjay Singh, slammed the opposition for creating noisy scenes unnecessarily.
“Why did Jitan Ram Manjhi meet heavyweight politician Anand Mohan in jail? He should reply,” he asked.