PATNA: With another senior BJP leader on Monday seeking the resignation of Bihar social welfare minister Manju Verma, Chief Minister Nitish Kumar of JD(U) defended her in a calculated manner even as BJP appeared divided on the issue.
“Since their names (Verma and her husband) have appeared during the investigation, she should resign to ensure an impartial investigation. Nitish Kumar should also ask her to stay off the government till all investigations are completed,” said Gopal Narayan Singh, a Rajya Sabha member from BJP. Senior BJP leader and former Union minister CP Thakur had sought Verma’s resignation on moral grounds on Sunday.
Responding to the growing chorus from the Opposition parties and the two BJP leaders for Verma’s resignation, Nitish Kumar said he had called the minister and asked her questions regarding the sexual abuse of minor girls at the Muzaffarpur shelter home. “She denied any involvement at any level,” said Kumar.
“But if any wrong decision is found to have been taken at the minister’s level, she will have to go. If anyone linked to the minister is found involved, he will be arrested,” added Kumar at the end of his weekly ‘Lok Samvad’ programme in Patna.
Deputy chief minister Sushil Kumar Modi of BJP came out strongly in defence of the minister, whose husband had allegedly entered the shelter home a number of times without anyone accompanying him.
“BJP is fully in support of Manju Verma. No charges against her,” said Modi in a tweet. Attacking Opposition leader Tejashwi Yadav of RJD for seeking Verma’s resignation, Modi added: “Those who have been chargesheeted and summoned by a CBI court in the Railways tender scam, whose two dozens of benami property have been attached by ED & ITax are lecturing us on morality”.
Modi said the statements of the two senior BJP leaders calling for Verma’s resignation are “not the official statement of the party”. Speaking to reporters, he said: “They are free to voice their personal opinions… There are one lakh leaders in BJP”.
Nitish Kumar attacked the Opposition leaders for holding a candle-light protest in New Delhi under Tejashwi Yadav’s leadership. Asserting that it was the state government that brought out the rot at the Muzaffarpur shelter home and handed over the case to CBI, Kumar said the Opposition parties’ efforts to politicise the issue would fail. “They are firing in the air,” added Kumar.