PATNA: Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar today said he was ready for any debate on 'jungle raj' bogey while asserting he was giving 100 per cent guarantee that rule of law would prevail without any pressure from any quarter.
Kumar, who has been chosen as Chief Ministerial candidate by the grand secular alliance of JD(U), RJD and Congress, said at a function of a private national TV channel, "I am prepared for a debate on jungle raj issue." Stating the jungle raj accusation has become "irrelevant" today, he said, "Even women can move freely in the night...gari (vehicle) has moved ahead...its (return of jungle raj) not possible now."
"I give 100 per cent guarantee that rule of law would continue to prevail in Bihar without any pressure from any quarter," Kumar said. The CM's assertions appeared as a bid to assuage people's misgivings against any adverse impact of tie-up with Lalu Prasad's RJD whose 15-year rule from 1990 to 2005 was described in certain quarters as 'worse law and order situation.' Kumar said the "jungle raj" term was used by others and not by him even when JD(U) was opposed to RJD for 10 years. He said at that time he had used "Atank raj" phrase (rule of terror) against the crime graph under previous rule.
"For past over one-and-a-half year I am running government with the help of RJD and Congress and never got any recommendation to set free any criminal," he said in support. RJD President Lalu Prasad also described the jungle raj allegation as "a ploy to drive forward castes away from us." Speaking at the same function, RJD chief claimed when he gave voice to poor and deprived sections of society it was dubbed as "jungle raj."
The Bihar CM once again reeled out statistics of National Crime Record Bureau to highlight that law and order situation was bad in BJP-ruled states of Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Haryana, Chhattisgarh and Delhi as compared to Bihar. Kumar accused BJP of "running away from issue of development in the poll and referring to jungle raj in a bid to divert attention from it."
Asked if Bihar election was a 'direct fight" between him and Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Kumar said he has gone into elections on the basis of his work. He laughed at BJP led NDA failing to pick a CM candidate and fighting in the name of PM and asked "is Narendra Modi endeavouring to assume additional charge of Bihar CM with that of Prime Ministership?"
Kumar described sulking BJP leader Shatrughan Sinha as "pride of Bihar" and blamed the saffron party for harbouring "use and throw" towards him as well L K Advani, Murli Manohar Joshi and Yashwant Sinha.