PATNA: Bihar minister Abdul Jalil Mastan of Congress, came in the eye of a storm on Wednesday for allegedly abusing Prime Minister Narendra Modi in public and instigating the audience to beat up a photograph of the PM with shoes.
After a video clip of Mastan’s controversial speech went viral on the social media and was broadcasted repeatedly by a television news channel, the Opposition BJP vociferously demanded his resignation. In the Assembly and Legislative Council, BJP legislators created ruckus and asked Chief Minister Nitish Kumar to sack the cabinet minister. BJP legislators also staged a walkout amid chanting of slogans against the minister and the State government. Nitish Kumar, when was asked by journalists, had curtly said: “It is wrong to use such words”.
Finding little support from parties in the ruling alliance, Mastan apologised, saying, “If anyone has been hurt by my words, I apologise”.
In the video, Mastan is seen purportedly abusing the prime minister by calling him names such as “Naxalite” and “dacoit” and saying that such a person should be beaten up with shoes. The same video then shows some people in the minister’s audience beating up with shoes a large photograph of the prime minister kept on a chair. The video is said to have been shot during a Jan Vedna Rally held by Congress at Amaur, the minister’s constituency in the eastern district of Purnea, on February 22.
“It was the prime minister who had said that if he failed to end the people’s woes within 50 days of demonetisation, he was ready to face any punishment,” Mastan is heard saying in his speech to a crowd. He is then heard saying that “such a person” should be beaten up with shoes. The Jan Vedna Rally of Congress was organised across Bihar in several phases to protest against the Centre’s demonetisation move.
“Such utterly indecent use of words against the nation’s prime minister in public cannot be tolerated. We demand the immediate resignation or sacking of this minister,” said senior BJP leader and former deputy chief minister Sushil Kumar Modi.