PATNA: In what appears to be a desperate bid by the embattled RJD to woo Bihar’s upper castes, the party’s national vice-president Shivanand Tiwari on Friday met don-turned-politician Anand Mohan in Saharsa jail, where he is serving a life term for the brutal murder of a Dalit IAS officer in 1994.
Anand Mohan, a muscle-flexing former MP and prominent Rajput politician, and Tiwari held discussions for over half an hour. Although Tiwari, himself an upper-caste leader, said it was a “simple courtesy call,” Bihar’s political circles were abuzz with speculations of new political alignments in the offing in anticipation of mid-term polls in the state.
“We have contested elections together during Samata Party times. We were in an alliance earlier. So we share old relations and personal ties. It is nothing other than a simple courtesy call,” said Tiwari after coming out of jail.
He also indicated that RJD considers Anand Mohan innocent in the sensational murder case during the chief ministership of party chief Lalu Prasad Yadav. “He (Anand Mohan) was framed in the case,” said Tiwari.
Anand Mohan, founder-president of the now-defunct Bihar People’s Party (BPP), was convicted and sentenced to death in 2007 for the murder of then Gopalganj district magistrate G Krishnaiah, 35, by a mob on December 5, 1994. Mohan, then an MLA and dreaded don, and his wife Lovely Anand, then an MP, were accused of leading the murderous mob.
Patna High Court later commuted Mohan’s death sentence to life term and the Supreme Court upheld it in July 2012 while Lovely Anand was acquitted by the high court. She has since been running a social campaign across Bihar seeking to get public support to secure her husband’s release from jail.
Being a Rajput leader with a long, colourful record of daredevilry that earned him the epithet “Bihar’s Robin Hood,” Anand Mohan still enjoys considerable popularity in the numerically sizeable upper-caste community of Rajputs. At 5.2 per cent of Bihar’s population, the Rajputs form the second biggest chunk among the 17 per cent upper-caste groups, next only to Brahmins who comprise 5.7 per cent.
Last year, RLSP chief and Union minister Upendra Kushwaha had attached himself with the public campaign run by Lovely Anand in an effort to widen the support base of his OBC-centric party by winning acceptance among the Rajputs.