How parties in Bihar ‘politicised’ justice for Sushant Singh Rajput

Even as the NDA is accused of cashing in on the tragic death of the actor ahead of the polls in the state, the event has drawn sympathetic comments even from the opposition.
As the investigation into Sushant Rajput’s death progresses, there is competition both within the NDA in Bihar and the opposition to claim credit for honouring the memory of the late actor.
As the investigation into Sushant Rajput’s death progresses, there is competition both within the NDA in Bihar and the opposition to claim credit for honouring the memory of the late actor.
Updated on Sep 08, 2020 06:57 PM IST
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Hindustan Times, New Delhi/Patna | By Smriti Kak Ramachandran and Vijay Swaroop

The Congress on Monday alleged that the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) is “politicising” the death of actor Sushant Singh Rajput to deflect attention from the problems faced by the people in poll-bound Bihar. While the BJP denies that charge, the actor’s death has emerged as an issue that has most political parties echoing the same sentiment—need for a fair investigation. Even as the NDA is accused of cashing in on the tragic death of the actor ahead of the polls in the state, the event has drawn sympathetic comments even from the opposition.

Tejashwi Yadav, the leader of opposition in Bihar assembly and an ally of the Congress, was among the first voices that sought a Central probe.

Both the BJP and the JD(U) have been at the forefront of seeking justice for the late actor, a native of Bihar, whose father still lives in Patna. If Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar pushed for a CBI probe into the death, and dispatched a police team led by Patna City Superintendent of Police Vinay Tiwari to Mumbai for investigation, the BJP, which is in the opposition in Maharashtra, raked up the issue of the death not being probed as per requisite protocol.

A third ally of the NDA, the LJP too has sought a CBI probe and claims it was the first to write to CM Kumar to push for a probe in the death, which the actor’s family has denied is death by suicide.

Poll issue in Bihar

The attention to the actor’s death that were gauged by political statements and the show of solidarity by visiting politicians who came to condole the death led to the perception that Sushant Singh Rajput will as much be an issue that will dominate the political scene in the run up to the elections as would issues that came post Covid-19 - jobs losses and the floods. Elections to the 243-member assembly are expected to be held in October-November.

Striking a balance

Opposition parties that are attacking the BJP for politicising the issue have, however, made cautious statements about the actor’s death to avoid a backlash.

The Congress, which is a part of the Maharashtra Maha Vikas Aghadi, has had to strike a balance between seeking justice for the actor in Bihar and standing by its government’s action in Mumbai. While its spokesperson Randeep Singh Surjewala criticised the BJP and Prime Minister Narendra Modi for politicising the death and terming it a “new low”, his party colleague and leader in Lok Sabha, Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury, pushed for an impartial probe by the CBI.

“Mr CBI and his masters, how many days will be required to unearth the mystery of the death of Sushant Singh Rajput, already media trial has been continuing in full swing which even can dwarf the judicial trial,” he tweeted.

The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) too lashed out at the BJP for trying to leverage the issue for its electoral benefit. Its Rajya Sabha MP Sanjay Singh on Tuesday, lashed out at the BJP for using posters to attract the vote bank. In a tweet, Singh alleged that when the actor was alive, the BJP had protested against his film Kedarnath.

The BJP, which has been asserting that the demand for a fair probe is not linked to the election, has launched a campaign seeking justice for the late actor.

“Tejashwi Yadav first said his party had met the family and were pushing the CM for a fair trial. He even criticised the CM for not meeting the family or even speaking to the Maharashtra CM about the case. He then attacked the CM for not doing enough when the police team sent to Mumbai was forcefully kept in quarantine by the BMC. So if he is allowed to raise the issue, how does the JD(U) or the BJP raising the demand for a fair probe become politicisation,” questioned a BJP leader in the state.

The Bihar BJP Cultural Cell has made stickers with a “Na Bhule hai, na bhulne denge (We have not forgotten nor will we forget you)” message, along with a picture of Sushant and BJP emblem, being distributed for use in cars. The party has also made masks with his name written on it.

“We have been campaigning for justice to Sushant since June. He ruled the hearts of youth,” convenor of BJP cultural cell, Varun Kumar Singh told HT earlier.

As the investigation into the death progresses, there is competition even within the NDA to claim credit for honouring the memory of Rajput.

The BJP wants Rajiv Nagar Chowk, near the actor’s residence in Patna named after him and a proposed film city at Rajgir. The LJP, on the other hand, has been quick to point out how it was their president Chirag Paswan who made two calls to the Maharashtra CM for a fair and quick probe. The latest entrant into the NDA fold, the Hindustan Awam Morcha (HAM), demanded a Padma Award for the late actor.

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Monday, October 18, 2021