Union consumer affairs minister Ram Vilas Paswan stirred a hornets nest when he said Bihar had slid back into the Jungle era and chief minister Nitish Kumar should immediately resign over the crime spiral that the state was witnessing.
Paswan’s statements came on the back of a killing of Brijnathi Singh of Raghopur area — the erstwhile constituency of RJD leader Rabri Devi and now the assembly constituency of deputy chief minister in the Grand Alliance government of the RJD, JD(U) and the Congress Tejashwi Prasad Yadav. He also demanded a CBI probe.
Paswan, who had on Sunday visited Raghopur, a part of his own parliamentary constituency, alleged that the Grand Alliance government had allowed the law and order situation to slip and helped re-establish Jungle Raj, for which Bihar was known in the 1990s.
Paswan also hinted that Brijnathi Singh’s killing was a political one since he had fought parliamentary elections against Rabri Devi and his son had taken on Tejashwi Prasad Yadav.
Brijnathi Singh was a proclaimed offender who had been booked in over 24 cases, including under the CCA and had undergone a life term in a murder case. He was gunned down by another set of criminals, who used AK-47 and carbines to gun him down in Kacchi Dargah area of Patna last Saturday. Singh was briefly a member of the LJP led by Paswan.
The Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) was prompt to hit back at Paswan, saying the latter did not have the right to speak about crime.
Deputy chief minister Tejashwi Prasad Yadav, Lalu Prasad’s son, was the first on the go, saying, “The LJP should cure itself of criminals in its ranks before accusing the present government of running a Jungle Raj.”
Tejashwi said, “Leaders like Paswan try to turn every isolated case of murder into a mountain but he should look to his own party, which has only people with criminal backgrounds.”
RJD leader Lalu Prasad also reacted to Paswan’s charge and BJP’s Sushil Kumar Modi’s visit to Raghopur on Monday saying, “Opposition parties are talking and spreading falsehood of return of ‘Jungle Raj’ in Bihar as part of conspiracy to defame the state again.”
Dismissing LJP parliamentarian Chirag Paswan’s demand that President’s Rule be imposed in Bihar in view of the deteriorating law and order situation under the government of the ‘Grand Alliance’ of the JD(U), RJD and the Congress, he said, “The rule of law prevails in Bihar and there is no place for violence and lawlessness.”
“Brijnathi was shot dead within 10-15km of the chief minister’s house. He was shot dead only because he and his family fought against Lalu ji in the Vidhan Sabha polls. I will definitely want to ask the chief minister if this is not political rivalry, then what is?” Chirag was quoted as saying in a media report.
Sushil Kumar Modi of the BJP also hit back, reminding JD(U) state president Bashishtha Narain Singh’s comment of Saturday that “the manner in which criminals have reacted with a new government in power is a matter of concern, especially when AK-47s are used in Patna”. Bashishtha’s statement was received with glee by the opposition parties.
He said the words of senior JD(U) leader’s were enough to portray the sense of helplessness, even as that underwrote the situation in which Bihar found itself.