| Nitish Kumar at the Jhajha grounds in Jamui during the election meeting on Friday. Picture by Amit Kumar |
Jhajha (Jamui), April 4: Chief minister Nitish Kumar came down heavily on his rivals today for dragging the name of speaker Uday Narayan Chaudhary — the JD(U) candidate from Jamui seat — into a controversy.
Chaudhary’s name is under the scanner after an intelligence report said he had a nexus with a platoon commander of the banned Maoists in Jamui to get support in the polls, a charge the JD(U) leader vehemently denied.
The chief minister alleged a high-level conspiracy by rivals to damage the image of an honest leader of his party. Nitish, while addressing a poll meeting in Jhajha today, raised questions on how news agencies got hold of a report of the CRPF’s intelligence wing, through Union home ministry sources. “How could such a confidential report appear in the media? What is the credential of such agencies,” Nitish asked. He also called for a proper investigation into the entire episode. “I know that Chaudhary’s life is under threat,” he said.
Chaudhary, who, too, addressed the meeting, claimed the charges against him were concocted. He attacked his rivals and threatened them with defamation for tarnishing his image. “I am going to win this seat as people from all walks of life are backing me. This is why my opponents have hatched this conspiracy against me,” he said. He demanded proof from the intelligence agencies or he would be compelled to take legal action against them.
RJD president Lalu Prasad, who was campaigning in Jhajha segment of Jamui today, targeted all his rivals, from Narendra Modi to Nitish Kumar, but kept mum on Chaudhary. Earlier on February 25, he had pointed a finger at Chaudhary for his alleged Maoist links. Jhari Ram, a railway employee at Jhajha, said: “We had earlier heard from Lalu about Chaudhary’s ties with the rebels but he avoided the issue in today’s speech.”
Though the intelligence claim was reported today, Chaudhary’s rivals in Jamui have been attacking him for his alleged ties with the rebels.
On March 19, during a poll meeting of LJP-BJP candidate Chirag Paswan, slain Gaya MP Rajesh Kumar’s son Kumar Sarbojit had accused Chaudhary of getting his father killed with Maoist help. Even LJP chief Ram Vilas Paswan has been alleging the same at several poll meetings. Quoting superintendent of police (SP) Paresh Saxena, Paswan alleged that Chaudhary masterminded the Gaya MP’s killing with Maoist help.
A senior CRPF official said on condition of anonymity that its intelligence wing had information the JD(U) candidate from Jamui has developed ties with a local platoon commander, Sidhu Koda alias Sidhu Manjhi, and sought his support. The official said: “Koda and other top Maoist leaders from eastern Bihar and south Jharkhand have decided to support the candidate for money. But we don’t have any knowledge about the report being leaked to the media.”