Patna, Oct. 27: Chief minister Nitish Kumar today described the serial blasts during the BJP’s Hunkar Rally here as the beginning of the “malicious efforts” to dirt the atmosphere, which called for the unity of all political parties to counter the challenge.
“The blasts are blot to the Bihar’s glorious tradition of healthy political differences. It warrants upon the political parties to get united in countering the challenge despite their differences,” Nitish told reporters, appreciating the appeal for peace made by the BJP leadership on the rally dais.
Condemning the incident, Nitish said: “We as political parties have our differences. We have nothing against our political rivals attacking us. We too are armed with enough material to confront them. But what has happened today has nothing to do with what Bihar has been known for. We have to find its cure.”
Refusing to blame the BJP or any other political outfit, Nitish said: “The police have picked up a suspect, seizing some documents which have provided some valuable leads. Give us a few days. I am sure that the police will eventually lay it hands on the culprits.” He added that he had already recommended the “dexterous” NIA to investigate it.
Asked if it was a handiwork of the terrorists, Nitish said: “It cannot be ruled out. But let us not jump on any conclusion at this stage. Let the investigating agencies do their work. The only thing I can say at this stage is the incident was the part of the design to dirt the atmosphere not only in Bihar for the whole of the country.”
Nitish shared the phone calls made by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, Union home minister Sushil Kumar Shinde and senior BJP leader L.K. Advani. “Despite our political differences, we are known for adopting a common and collective approach on such issues.”
He refused to describe the blasts as the result of security lapses. “We had no input either from state intelligence or central intelligence. President Pranab Mukherjee stayed here for two-and-a-half hours yesterday. Everything was fine. Today’s incidents caught us unawares, which we should take as new challenge rather than dismissing it as a mere security lapse.”
Nitish said the administration had made adequate security arrangements for the BJP’s rally. “The BJP leaders too were not dissatisfied with the security arrangements. The administration had given them what they asked for.” He announced an ex-gratia of Rs 5 lakh each to the dependents of all the five deceased and free treatment to all the 38 people admitted to Patna Medical College Hospital.
Director-general of police Abhayanand, who accompanied Nitish at the media conference, described the incidents as “low intensity blasts” in which improvised electronics devises were used.
Sushil Kumar Modi, the former deputy chief minister, described the incident as “administrative failure”.
“The blasts were the results of the casual approach of the administration. It should have been more alert during the rally,” he said, adding that the party had demanded the bomb squads and dog squads to check the entire Gandhi Maidan ahead of the rally.