PATNA: Bihar’s ruling allies JD(U) and BJP Bihar had a face-off on Monday after Chief Minister and JD(U) president Nitish Kumar openly criticised firebrand BJP leader and Union minister Giriraj Singh for meeting the families of some Sangh Parivar leaders arrested for their alleged role in communal clashes.
Kumar said such activities are “entirely unacceptable” and they vitiate the harmonious atmosphere of the country. Without naming Singh, he also described the Union minister’s act of weeping while meeting family members of an accused as a “media stunt”.
Even though the Bihar CM asserted that there was no rift between JD(U) and BJP, the saffron party’s leaders reacted sharply over his comments on Giriraj Singh and accused JD(U) of harbouring a “mentality of appeasement” towards the minorities.
“The arrests were made after police conducted a thorough probe and found evidence of the negative roles the accused had in those incidents. If anyone has objections, they are free to go to court against the arrests,” said Kumar to reporters after his public interaction ‘Lok Samvad’ programme. Deputy chief minister and senior BJP leader Sushil Kumar Modi was present beside Kumar.
“Such open display of sympathy for those found guilty by the administration is not proper. This is only a media stunt. Such acts create an unhealthy atmosphere for the people of the country,” added Kumar. His government takes utmost care in
Claiming that his government never does anything that would affect communal harmony, Kumar said: “The fact that those who cause disturbances are arrested and lodged in jail proves that this government has no sympathy for anyone who tries to disturb harmony between communities”.
Soon after Kumar’s comments came, senior BJP leaders Sanjay Paswan and Nawal Kishore Chaudhary came out strongly in defence of Singh, describing his meetings with the jailed Sangh Parivar leaders in Nawada jail on Saturday and their families on Sunday as “normal activities of elected representatives”.
“The socialists view the world differently. Nitish Kumar is a highly respectable leader and our ally, but his comments show that JD(U) still harbours a mentality of appeasement towards the minorities,” said Paswan, a former Union minister who is now an MLC.
Chaudhary said: “Giriraj Singh has done nothing wrong by meeting the leaders in jail and then their families. An elected leader is expected to meet the people of his constituency”.
The exchanges, coming a day after JD(U)’s national executive meeting in New Delhi, brought to the surface the shimmering tensions between the two NDA partners. Kumar, however, said both allies are running the state government “harmoniously” and that the issue of seat-sharing for next year’s Lok Sabha polls would be resolved amicably in due course.