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‘Buck stops with CM’: RJD targets Nitish over Bihar engineers’ murders

Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) leader Raghubansh Prasad Singh on Thursday expressed concern over the law and order condition in Bihar and asked chief minister Nitish Kumar to “initiate measures” to tackle the situation, triggering unease in the coalition between the RJD and the ruling Janata Dal (United).

india Updated: Jan 01, 2016 17:02 IST
Nitish Kumar,Lalu Prasad,NDA in Bihar
Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar arrives to meet Prime Minister Narendra Modi at the Parliament house during winter session.(Mohd Zakir/ HT file photo)

Rashtriya Janata Dal’s (RJD) vice president, Raghubansh Prasad Singh, has expressed concern over the law and order condition in Bihar and asked chief minister Nitish Kumar to “initiate measures” to tackle the situation, triggering unease in the ruling coalition between the RJD and the Janata Dal (United).

Citing that the “sensational” murders of the engineers had proved that law and order in the State was not up to the mark, Singh said, “Nitish Kumar, who is sitting in the driver’s seat of the government, should initiate stern measures to check further slide.”

As the coalition partner, he added that the RJD was “sitting in the back seat” and its prime duty was that of a “man on the wheel to drive the vehicle (coalition government) safely”.

His remarks came close on the heels of RJD chief Lalu Prasad’s apparent dig at chief minister Kumar over the issue.

“JD(U) people are in the habit of hearing ‘jay kaar’ (hailing words) — which they should end and take strong measures to rein in crime causing disturbance to people,” Singh, a former Union minister, said, targeting the ally.

For his part, Jan Adhikar Party chief Pappu Yadav, who was expelled from the RJD, sought to give a political colour to the recent murders of two engineers in Darbhanga as he accused senior JD(U) leader Sanjay Jha, a close aide of the CM, of fostering the gangster believed to be behind the crime.

The murders of another engineer along with a grain trader and a supervisor with the National Thermal Power Corporation have prompted the Opposition to accuse the new JD(U)-RJD government of promoting jungle raj or lawlessness in Bihar.

Read: Bihar: Murders spark ‘jungle raj’ slur; crime data show little change

For his part, senior JD(U) leader and former minister Shyam Rajak said Kumar had the track record of pulling Bihar out of bad days.

“Even a child can give advice,” he said, apparently reacting to Singh’s views.

In his reply, JD(U) spokesperson Neeraj Kumar said, “Eleven crore citizens of Bihar did ‘jay kaara’ of Nitish Kumar in poll and gave three-fourth (of the) seats to the coalition headed by Kumar.”

Congress, a partner in the coalition government in Bihar, came out in support of Kumar.

“Law and order has always been the USP of Nitish Kumar - for which he has won praise across the country. Some criminal incidents have taken place to which the CM is looking into and will handle it,” Bihar education minister Ashok Choudhary, who is also the state’s Congress chief, said.

He took potshots at the BJP for making adverse comments against the government in the wake of the murders of engineers in Bihar.

The spate of killings has given the beleaguered NDA in Bihar much-needed ammunition to attack Nitish Kumar, reviving its pre-poll allegation that his tie-up with RJD chief Prasad will herald ‘Jungle Raj 2’ in the state. Jungle raj is the euphemism for the deteriorating law and order when the RJD was in power.

The ‘Grand Alliance’ of the JD(U)-RJD-Congress defeated the BJP in a keenly followed poll contest last year.

Read: 1 more engineer’s body found in Bihar; BJP calls it ‘Jungle Raj’

First Published: Jan 01, 2016 14:32 IST