The Bharatiya Janata Party in Bihar, though the largest party in the Assembly and a constituent of ruling National Democratic Alliance , cuts a sorry figure. Its state unit chief Sanjay Jaiswal made a scathing attack on the government led by the alliance partner Janata Dal (United) supremo, Nitish Kumar.
Coming down heavily on the Bihar government he asked as to how the police and administration failed to protect the property of the government as well as that of his own party.
Sanjay Jaiswal appeared very upset as mobs targeted his own house in Bettiah and that of the deputy chief minister, Reenu Devi, in the same town. Reenu Devi was in Patna at that time while Sanjay Jaiswal was in his native town. In Motihari the car of another party MLA Vinay Bihari was attacked with stones. He did not receive any injuries.
Bettiah and Motihari are the district headquarter towns of West Champaran and East Champaran respectively–the scene of Mahatma Gandhi’s 1917 Satyagrah.
Besides, the house of Chapra MLA, C N Gupta too was attacked and, according to the media reports, the BJP flag was thrown down by the angry mob. The vehicle of Warisaliganj legislator, Aruna Devi, was badly damaged in Nawada. She too was hurt in the incident.
The saffron party’s office in Nawada, a district in South Bihar, was totally destroyed and then set on fire. The BJP offices and other property of the party and its leaders were targeted in many other places (for example Madhubani) across Bihar.
No doubt the Nitish Kumar government came under heavy shelling for not handling the widespread violence in a better manner. But the Janata Dal (United) national president, Lallan Singh, hit out at Sanjay Jaiswal and countered as to why the police of the BJP ruled Uttar Pradesh, Haryana and Madhya Pradesh had failed to control the youths who were on warpath. Why did not the police open fire to kill the rioters in these states, he asked, adding that Jaiswal had loss his mental balance.
Without getting dragged into JD(U)-BJP wordy duel, one can ask as to why the leaders of Bihar BJP were singled out for attack. And why are they feeling so helpless and humiliated?
Apart from Reenu Devi there is another deputy chief minister (Tarkishore Prasad of the same party) in Bihar. The BJP ministers in the Nitish cabinet are holding important portfolios. Not to speak of ministers even the MLAs get proper security. What were the personal bodyguards of Aruna Devi or Vinay Bihari doing when they were attacked? Were the police personnel not at all listening to these ministers and other leaders of the party? Why were t`he leaders of the other NDA parties not subjected to similar treatment?
Unlike other parties the BJP is a cadre-based outfit with many of its workers trained by RSS. If the police and administration were really dancing to the tune of Nitish and not doing anything why their own workers could not protect their leaders and party offices? After all they have displayed their strength on various other occasions all over the country.
It might be that the BJP was left totally alone on this count with alliance partner Janata Dal (United) voicing its opposition to the new policy on the appointment of Agniveers. The other NDA constituent in Bihar, former chief minister Jitan Ram Manjhi’s Hindustani Awam Morcha openly suppoted the June 18 Bihar Bandh call of the agitating youths.
It is not only that the BJP found itself without friends. Its cadres did not deem it fit to come out as they were totally outnumbered by the furious mobs all over the state. Not only that, many party workers were angry over the totally absurd remarks of the Union minister Giriraj Singh at the very outset of the agitation. He charged that destruction of public property is the handiwork of the ‘goondas of Rashtriya Janata Dal’.
This insensitive statement, according to many observers, added fuel to the flame.
Though the huge army of unemployed youths indulged in all sorts of unlawful activities causing immense hardship to the common men and women yet the general sympathy of the masses is with them.
Not only in Bihar, but elsewhere too, the common people are not too much interested in the academic debate whether Agnipath policy is good or bad for the country. What is angering the people more–not just the army-aspirants–is as to why thousands of youths who had qualified at various stages for this job in the last three years left in lurch and are not getting absorbed. They have lost precious years for no fault of theirs.
Anyway the ongoing violent agitation over the appointment of Agniveers has further widened the gap between the BJP and JD(U). This is likely to have political implications as the relationship between them is uneasy. – IANS