With the dust settling on communal disturbances in Bihar, Chief Minister Nitish Kumar on Wednesday rejected charges of administrative laxity and vented spleen against Union Home Minister Amit Shah and the BJP, vowing to expose those who had “orchestrated” the riots.
The JD(U) leader also lambasted AIMIM chief Asaduddin Owaisi, calling him an “agent” of the BJP.
He was replying to queries from journalists on the sidelines of a function organised on the occasion of birth anniversary of former deputy prime minister and Dalit stalwart Jagjivan Ram.
Kumar’s remarks come a day after West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee claimed that the BJP was bringing in goons to create riots in her state.
The Bihar CM taunted Shah over the much-publicised “rioters will be hung upside down if BJP comes to power in Bihar” remark at a rally in Nawada district on Sunday, and reminded him of riots “in 2017 when our government had to arrest the son of a BJP leader”.
The allusion was to the riots that broke out during Ram Navami, incidentally in 2018 and not 2017, at Bhagalpur. Union minister Ashwini Kumar Choubey’s son Arijit Shashwat was named among the key accused in the case.
Kumar, who was a minister in the Union Cabinet headed by Atal Bihari Vajpayee, also reminded Shah “how angry Atal ji was”, indirectly referring to the 2002 riots of Gujarat, when Prime Minister Narendra Modi was the chief minister of that state.
About the conflagration that erupted in Sasaram and Bihar Sharif last week, again during Ram Navami, Kumar asserted that there was “no administrative laxity”, but added the riots were “orchestrated” and “those behind the incident will be known soon. Just wait, door to door searches are on”.
“The riots last week were planned thoroughly. No wonder, one of the places, Sasaram, happened to be where he (Amit Shah) was supposed to visit. And the other was Bihar Sharif, a town which is dear to me,” said Kumar, who hails from Nalanda district, where Bihar Sharif is headquartered.
The longest-serving chief minister also expressed anguish that during his stay in Bihar, the Union home minister spoke to the governor over the riots and not to him, saying “these people have no regard for constitutional norms and the sanctity of an elected government”.
“For how long have these people (Modi and Shah) been in politics? And compare it with the time I have spent in active politics,” said the septuagenarian, who also pointed out that unlike his counterparts in many other non-BJP states, he has never had a problem with Raj Bhavan and “always welcomed” whosoever was appointed the governor.
The JD(U) supremo bristled when his attention was drawn to remarks of Owaisi, who has blamed the Mahagathbandhan government for the riots.
“Who is he? Which place does he belong to? What stakes does he have in Bihar?” Kumar shot back, alleging that the Hyderabad MP was “an agent of those in power at Delhi”.
“He (Owaisi) had expressed the desire to meet me when I separated (from the BJP). I refused,” revealed Kumar.
With inputs from News18