PATNA: Taking cognisance of an alleged casteist remark made by RJD chief Lalu Prasad at an election rally of his younger son Tejaswi Yadav, Chief Election Commissioner Nasim Zaidi on Monday termed it a clear-cut violation of the Commission’s guidelines. “Casteist remark is a breach of the EC guidelines for polls… the EC will deal with such matters under its legal framework,” he said after a review meeting with government officials.
“Election Commission will find out the details of the alleged casteist remarks by Prasad and would take appropriate action,” Zaidi added. The RJD chief, while addressng the meeting at Raghopur on Sunday, had termed the upcoming elections in Bihar “backward versus forward caste war.” BJP leaders strongly condemned his remarks and said Lalu has nothing to offer but mere caste equations.
Accusing Lalu of playing only the caste card ahead of the assembly elections, leader of opposition in the state assembly and senior BJP leader Nand Kishore Yadav said, “Times have changed. Now, youths from backward classes, particularly Yadavs, also want jobs, roads, power, health and other basic facilities.” Most of the BC leaders of the NDA swung into action, criticising Lalu’s controversial statement and described it as a move to polarise the electorate along caste lines. Union Minister of State Ramkripal Yadav reminded Lalu that “it’s not Bihar of 1990 but Bihar of 2015.’ He also questioned, “Does Yaduvanshi mean you and your family alone? Bihar polls are certainly not backward vs forward rather it’s Vikas (development) vs Vinash (destruction).”
Former chief minister Jitan Ram Manjhi said Lalu cannot carry away masses on the basis of sentiments. Lalu made his controversial speech in the first election rally of his party at Raghopur from where his son is trying his luck in electoral politics for the first time. The JD (U) came to Lalu’s rescue, claiming he was merely ‘sounding caution’ in the wake of RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat’s call for a review of the reservation policy. Meanwhile, Lalu’s brother-in-law Subhash Yadav joined Pappu Yadav’s party on Monday.