Bihar riots were orchestrated, culprits will be exposed soon: Nitish

The JD(U) leader also lambasted AIMIM chief Asaduddin Owaisi, calling him an "agent" of the BJP.

Patna: 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.

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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.

The chief minister, who had earlier said that he will proceed in the direction of forging “opposition unity” once the assembly session, which came to a close on Wednesday evening, was also asked about his plans to tour the country for bring together anti-BJP forces.

“I am making efforts in that direction,” he said.

Meanwhile, both opposition BJP and ruling Mahagathbandhan accused each other for the communal clashes on the last day of the budget session.

Opposition BJP MLAs demonstrated both inside and outside the assembly and one of its legislators had to be marshalled out after he resorted to sloganeering against the government and disrupted the Question Hour.

As soon as the proceedings of the House began, BJP MLAs entered the well and raised slogans against the government, accusing it of not handling the communal clashes effectively.

Leader of Opposition, Vijay Kumar Sinha, also accused the Nitish Kumar government of targetting people belonging to a particular community in the name of handling communal clashes.

Amid the chaos, Speaker Awadh Bihari Chaudhary, allowed state Parliamentary Affairs Minister, Vijay Kumar Choudhary, to make a statement on the issue. BJP members went back to their seats.

However, BJP’s Jibesh Kumar Mishra once again entered the well of the House and started shouting slogans against the government. Finally, Mishra was marshalled out for his alleged unruly behaviour.

The allegations and counter allegations turned sour with both sides accusing each other over communal clashes in several parts of the state during Ramnavami celebrations.

Mishra also stoked controversy by remaining seated when the state anthem was played in the assembly, prompting the ruling Mahagathbandhan to take offence over the action.

Mishra, who represents Jale constituency of Darbhanga district, said he remained seated because the state anthem does not mention 18 districts of the state that are part of the Mithila region.

“The state anthem ‘Mere Bharat Ke Kanth Haar’ does not talk about personalities and the culture of Mithila. It talks about only Nalanda, the home district of the CM. My intention was not to disrespect the state anthem… But it should have been a complete anthem,” Mishra told reporters outside the assembly.

Reacting to Mishra’s action, Bihar Rural Development Minister Shrawan Kumar told reporters, “It was sheer disrespect of the state anthem. His (Mishra’s) act has exposed the mindset of the BJP leaders”.

Both Houses of the Bihar legislature were adjourned sine die after the over one-month-long budget session came to an end on Wednesday.

The Speaker adjourned the assembly after taking up a private members resolution in the post-lunch session.

Meanwhile, CPI (ML) Liberation secretary general Dipankar met the CM on Tuesday evening and alleged that the communal riots “exposed” BJP’s “electoral game plan”.

Dipankar had called on Kumar at the latter’s official residence here.

According to a CPI (ML) Liberation release, Dipankar referred to Shah’s speech at Nawada on Sunday wherein the Union home minister “brazenly called for a mandate for the BJP within hours of communal violence, thereby betraying their electoral game plan”.

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