BJP leaders absence at Dussehra stirs pol waters in Bihar
The absence of BJP leaders at the Dussehra celebrations here on the previous day where Chief Minister Nitish Kumar shared the dais with the state Congress president, among others, continued to stir the choppy waters of Bihar politics on Wednesday. BJP leaders sought to downplay their absence at the "Ravana Vadha" (killing of the demon king Ravana) that brimmed with religious passion, claiming they had pressing engagements elsewhere though the JD(U), headed by the Chief Minister, appeared to be not convinced.
The incident provided opportunity to the opposition to take potshots at the rivals. The Congress said the BJP had tried to avoid facing the wrath of the victims of waterlogging, who had been voting for them for decades, by making themselves scarce at the public function.
BJP has its representatives on both the Parliamentary Lok Sabha seats-Patna Sahib and Patliputra- in Patna as well on the city's four assembly constituencies of Bankipur, Kumhrar, Patna Sahib and Digha. It also accused the BJP of trying to lay a trap for Kumar and claimed that the saffron party was working towards causing "political instability" in the state, which might ultimately lead to clamping of the Presidents rule.
The RJD, which has been sore over its unceremonious loss of power after Kumar abruptly walked out of the Grand Alliance two years ago, asserted that the recent gestures by BJP leaders show that the JD(U) chief had become "dispensable" after the Lok Sabha poll. "The absence of Ravi Shankar Prasad and Deputy CM Sushil Modi can be understood as the former had announced earlier that he would stay away from all Durga Puja celebrations while the latter was out of station", JD(U) spokesman Rajiv Ranjan Prasad told reporters here.
The Union minister had made the announcement ahead of the "Navaratri" stating that as the MP representing Patna Sahib in Lok Sabha he felt aggrieved by the destruction wrought upon the state capital by torrential rainfall late last month that left several parts of the city waterlogged for days together, resulting in large scale financial losses besides giving rise to several health-related problems. The JD(U) spokesman, however, added "the remaining BJP leaders should have been present. Of course, it was not a function organized by the Bihar government or the NDA or even the JD(U) so we have no reasons to take offence. But the BJP leaders decision to give the ceremony a miss looks like escapism".
State BJP president Sanjay Jaiswal, who was among those said to have been invited for the occasion, clarified "I was away in Nepal offering prayers at a temple. All other party leaders were similarly preoccupied elsewhere. Please do not look at the episode through the prism of politics". Pataliputra MP- Ram Kripal Yadav- another notable absentee, snapped when asked why he did not attend the function where even an opposition leader like state Congress president Madan Mohan Jha had shared the dais with the Chief Minister.
"All those who were relishing the sight of Ravan Vadha will be slain like the demon king when assembly polls are held next year, Yadav blurted, only to retract a couple of hours later with the comment "I meant the opposition leaders present at Gandhi Maidan. None else". Congress MLC- Prem Chandra Mishra- who is also a national media panelist of the party, said "I do not think the BJP was trying to send out any political message to the JD(U) by excusing itself from the Dussehra festivities. It is, indeed, surprising that the party stayed away from a public function which is linked to religious sentiments".
"It appears that BJP leaders, many of whom are local MPs and MLAs, were wary that the general public might go berserk upon their sight. They, after all, have much of the blame to share as the people of the city have been voting for the party for many years", Mishra said. He, however, added "there indeed seems a plot to create troubles for Chief Minister Nitish Kumar. He was wooed back to the NDA with the BJPs promise of a double engine government but now he finds that they in fact want to derail his train.
The sustained attacks by Union minister Giriraj Singh and his cohorts point in that direction". "We should not be surprised if the BJP causes a major upheaval by Deepawali. The state is going to witness great political instability. Even Presidents rule may be in the offing", he claimed.
RJD national vice president Shivanand Tiwary said "Narendra Modi is known for his smart calculations. After the NDAs drubbing in 2015 Bihar assembly polls, he needed something to propel the alliance led by his party in the Lok Sabha elections. "Now the aim has been achieved and Nitish Kumar has outlived his utility. Hence the attacks by leaders like Giriraj Singh and snubs in the form of BJP leaders absence at Dussehra".
Meanwhile, disgruntled JD(U) leader Ajay Alok, who has of late been known for adopting a stance in line with BJP hardliners, came out with a telling remark. On his official Twitter handle, Alok wrote "the BJP is not going to lose much if it ceases to be in power in Bihar.
(This story has not been edited by Devdiscourse staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)