BJP legislators here on Tuesday accused JD(U) national vice-president Prashant Kishor of meddling in the Patna University Students' Union (PUSU) elections, for which voting is scheduled on Wednesday.
BJP MLAs Nitin Nabin, Sanjiv Chaurasia and Arun Sinha, along with other party leaders, sat on a dharna outside the Pirbahore police station here, protesting the arrest of Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP) activists for vandalising the vehicle of Kishor on Monday night, after he came out of the university vice chancellor's residence.
The ABVP activists had alleged that Kishor's visit to the VC's residence violated the model code of conduct that was in force in view of the PUSU elections, and pelted his vehicle with stones. Kishor later tweeted, addressing the ABVP, an affiliate of the BJP's parent body the RSS - "You need to do better than let a few hooligans and anti-social elements become your face in Bihar. The nervousness over the possibility of a defeat in PUSU polls will not go away by hurling stones at my vehicle".
The BJP legislators said that the poll strategist- turned-politician was "flouting" all norms to boost the prospects of Chhatra JD(U) and the administration, and police are "victimising" the ABVP to remain in the good books of the ruling party. "We urge Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar to take note... We demand all the ABVP activists be released and that Kishor hand himself over to the police by way of 'prayashchit' (repentance)," the legislators added.
Asked about their own meeting with Governor Lalji Tandon late on Monday night on the issue, the MLAs told reporters that they wanted to draw his attention to the alleged breach of regulations.
"The Governor is also the chancellor of all state universities. So, we had visited the Raj Bhavan to draw his attention towards the flouting of norms in students' union polls, which seems to have the tacit approval of the vice chancellor. The Governor has taken note of our complaint and assured that he will look into the matter," they said. However, JD(U) spokesman Sanjay Singh said Kishor was at the VC's residence when a meeting on setting up of a disaster management centre at the Patna Science College was underway.
"He was accompanying a relative who was taking part in the meeting. Those jittery over the growing support base of the JD(U) are coming up with baseless allegations," Singh said. Trouble has been brewing between the alliance partners ever since some Chhatra JD(U) candidates were roughed up near the Patna Women's College last week, leading to a police raid on the ABVP office in the city, which was strongly condemned by BJP legislators staging the dharna in a joint statement issued on Sunday.
The BJP lawmakers had at that time refrained from mentioning Kishor's name, referring to him in an oblique manner. Meanwhile, the episode has also drawn criticism from the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), which alleged that members of its students' wing CYSS were rounded up as well on Monday night, for staging a protest outside the VC's residence.
RJD heir apparent Tejashwi Yadav attacked Nitish Kumar in a series of tweets and took potshots at Deputy CM Sushil Kumar Modi, a senior BJP leader, for keeping mum over the issue, even as MLAs of the party were staging a demonstration. Rashtriya Lok Samata Party chief and Union minister Upendra Kushwaha, too, slammed the CM and his party, alleging blatant violation of Lyngdoh Committee recommendations for students' union elections.
(With inputs from agencies.)