Bihar MLA pic in undergarments on train goes viral; JD(U) faces fire
Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar’s Janata Dal (United) came under fire from the Opposition on Friday after a party legislator was captured on camera walking across his coach on a New Delhi-bound train in undergarments, the picture of which was widely circulated on social media.
The legislator, Gopal Mandal, MLA from Gopalpur in Bhagalpur district, later defended himself, saying he had an “upset stomach” soon after he boarded Tejas Rajdhani Express in Patna Thursday evening and that he was rushing to the lavatory when some passengers created a ruckus.
According to news agency ANI, Mandal lodged a complaint at Government Railway Police (GRP) at New Delhi Railway Station on Friday, accusing one Prahlad Paswan of abusing him, misbehaving and snatching his gold chain and rings. The case is now being transferred to Buxar (where the incident took place) for further action, GRP officials said.
“The matter was sorted out as the melee led to the RPF (Railway Police Force) being called. They recorded my statement and of the hostile co-passenger,” Mandal told reporters in New Delhi.
He, however, insisted that the co-passenger had “overreacted”. “I was suffering from dysentery. No sooner did the train chug off that I felt the need to urgently relieve myself and made a dash to the toilet,” he said.
“On the way, I was accosted by this man. I shoved him away and after relieving myself, I confronted him. I admonished him saying he should have looked at my age. I am 60. He spoke of female passengers feeling uncomfortable though no woman or girl was inside the compartment,” the MLA said.
The legislator also claimed he suspected that the co-passenger was “drunk”, which has not been confirmed by railway and police sources here.
Sale and consumption of liquor is banned in Bihar.
Patna resident Munder Shah, who was travelling with his mother in the same coach, said the MLA got into heated arguments with his fellow passengers and some of them pulled the alarm chain while others video-recorded his misbehaviour.
Rajesh Kumar, chief public relations officer of East Central Railway, said the matter was sorted out when the train’s escort party and travelling ticket examiners pacified the passengers. “The MLA was later shifted to another coach even as the train was stopped briefly at Dildarnagar because of the ruckus,” said an official.
RPF inspector at Dildarnagar, Sanjiv Kumar, said no action was initiated as no one lodged any complaint.
Back home, JD(U)’s rivals said the incident brought “a bad name to Bihar”. “I am not aware of the full episode. But I must say it is incidents like these that are responsible for Bihar’s poor reputation. I wish the chief minister, who is now left with just a handful of MLAs, could spend some time tutoring the public representatives on public conduct,” said LJP MP Chirag Paswan.
RJD MLA and chief spokesman Bhai Virendra concurred. “The so-called sushasan babu (reffering to CM Nitish Kumar) should take note of such foul behaviour. The state keeps getting a bad name for such reasons”.
Last month, JD(U) had sought Mandal’s explanation for his comments against deputy chief minister Tarkishore Prasad, who he accused of visiting Bhagalpur frequently to extort money from traders.
With agency inputs