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Protest takes political hues

The Magadh Mahila College row has snowballed into a BJP versus JD(U) tussle with Sushil Kumar Modi suggesting the proposed convention hall be built at 1 Aney Marg — the official residence of the chief minister.

“1 Aney Marg has more than enough land to have a convention hall of international standards. At present, the Bihar chief minister lives there alone. I am offering to quit my official residence 1, Polo Road, for the chief minister to shift there,” Modi said.

The offer was, however, ridiculed by the JD(U). “He is indulging in political gimmick. Modi was a strong supporter of the hall being built there when he was with us,” said panchayati raj minister Bhim Singh, insisting the site of the hall would not be shifted.

On Monday, around 3,000 students of Magadh Mahila College took out a rally to R-Block to draw the attention of the legislative houses in session towards their opposition to building the proposed convention hall in front of the institute, blocking its main gate. The government, on the other hand, declared an alternative passage has been made for students. Chief minister Nitish Kumar alleged that the agitation was sponsored by the BJP. According to sources, Nitish blamed the BJP for stirring up the agitation as Jessy George Modi, the principal of Women’s Training College and wife of Sushil Modi, too, had protested against coming up of the convention centre.

The Women’s Training College is adjacent to Magadh Mahila College and if the convention centre comes up, the road to their institute, too, would get choked.

“We knew the hall would be built near the Gandhi Sangrahalaya near Gandhi Maidan. We didn’t know the hall would block the passage of Magadh Mahila College,” Modi added.

Both the RJD and BJP pressed for adjournments in both the Assembly and the council. Several effigies of Nitish were burnt in Patna. Thousands of Magadh Mahila College students, wearing black badges, denounced Monday’s police brutality claiming their agitation was not a political one.

Principal Dolly Sinha said: “Our protest is neither against the state government nor is it a political agitation. The college is planning to start MBA, MCA, MCom and other courses.”

The college administration on Tuesday wrote a letter to the chief minister with a plea to shift the venue of the convention centre and action against police personnel involved in Monday’s incident.

Patna University dean, social science, N.K. Choudhary said: “If the state government is so serious of constructing the convention centre, why are they not building it by demolishing the government bungalow located to the south of Bailey Road.”

Choudhary also announced staging a daylong hunger strike on the college campus. Kirti Singh, who suffered minor injuries during Monday’s protest, said: “Monday’s incident reflects the anti-women attitude of the state government. Girl students were beaten up by male police personnel.”

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