ARARIA: Chief Minister Nitish Kumar on Thursday attacked his “loudmouth” rivals, in an apparent reference to RJD and its leaders who have been very vocal in his criticism since he joined hands with the BJP, and said he believed in working for people unlike his detractors.
Campaigning for his party for the Jokihat assembly by-poll in this north Bihar district, Kumar dismissed allegations that he had given up secularism by joining hands with the BJP. He underscored his government’s commitment to maintaining harmony and highlighted measures taken for the betterment of the minorities.
“Nobody should harbour any illusions,” Kumar told electors in the Muslim-dominated assembly segment. “My government is committed to upholding social harmony and those who try to cause disturbances are never spared.”
His comments come in the backdrop of communal tensions various parts of the state witnessed during the Ram Navami earlier this year.
Commencing his speech with Ramzan greetings, the JD(U) national president pointed out the “lack” of spread of education and budgetary allocation for minority communities in Bihar until he assumed power in 2005.
“Some loudmouths have the habit of talking big. When they come to you, you must question them on these counts. You must also ask them why they did not muster the courage to ban sale and consumption of alcohol, which is transforming lives since we enforced prohibition two years ago”, he said.
Lalu Prasad’s RJD and its leaders, especially Leader of Opposition Tejashwi Yadav, have been attacking the JD(U)-BJP government over liquor ban for the past two years, saying it was targeting the poor sections of the society.
The May-28 by-poll at Jokihat has been necessitated by the resignation of sitting MLA Sarfaraz Alam, who quit the party earlier this year and got elected to the Lok Sabha from Araria on an RJD ticket.
The Araria Lok Sabha seat had fallen vacant upon the death of his father Mohammad Taslimuddin. The RJD has fielded Alam’s younger brother Shahnawaz in the by-poll.
The chief minister also took a swipe at Alam saying, “While I thank the people of Jokihat for having blessed us with victory in two consecutive assembly polls, I am sad that Sarfaraz deserted us and ran away”.
Among others who addressed the rally was BJP spokesman Syed Shahnawaz Hussain.
Hussain told reporters, “Our candidate will win the by-poll hands down in a befitting reply to those who believe in dynasty politics.”
Meanwhile, talking to reporters in Patna, Tejashwi Yadav accused the JD(U) chief of fielding “a tainted candidate, named in cases relating to heinous offences like murder, rape and loot”.
The JD(U) has fielded Murshid Alam, a former Panchayat Mukhiya, who had joined the party a couple of years ago.
Yadav’s allegations were rubbished by JD(U) MLC Ashok Chowdhury, currently in Araria for poll campaign, who pointed towards the criminal background of Mohd Taslimuddin.