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BJP blames cases on RJD influence
- FIRs add teeth to Opposition attack

The BJP has blamed the influence of RJD companionship for the recent spate of criminal complaints against some JDU leaders.

“An FIR was lodged against minister Baidyanath Sahni in Samastipur for trying to build a petrol pump on college land there. An RJD MLA has been charged with extortion and a JDU MLA with beating up water resource department engineers. What is happening? It seems that your friendship with the RJD is manifesting itself,” leader of the opposition in the Assembly, Nand Kishore Yadav, said on Friday while demanding the minister’s scalp.

He was alluding to the RJD and JDU allying to take on the BJP in the bypoll for 10 Assembly seats next month. The treasury bench was visibly irked.

Water resources minister Vijay Kumar Choudhary retorted saying they had been in alliance with the BJP for 17 years. “When your companionship did not influence us how could our friendship with others influence us,” he said. But Yadav countered saying as long as the JDU was in alliance with the BJP, the government ran well. “Just see what is happening ever since you joined hands with RJD,” he said. RJD MLA Bhai Birendra then reminded the opposition of the fortune the police recovered from thieves who burgled BJP leader Giriraj’s home.

The government turned down the demand to sack minister Baidyanath Sahni. “It is because of transparency adopted by the government that an FIR can be lodged against the minister. I want to assure the house and the people of Bihar that an inquiry is on and the guilty would be punished,” Choudhary said.

But the BJP was unconvinced. “Which sub-inspector will dare probe and question a minister,” Nand Kishore asked, insisting that a free and fair probe could not be held so long as Sahni remained minister. When the government refused to drop Sahni, BJP MLAs trooped into the well of the house raising slogans against “Jungle Raj-II”, forcing the Speaker to adjourn the house.

But the cases involving a minister, and MLAs from the JDU and ally RJD have embarrassed the party. “It is beginning to look like the Lalu-Rabri regime. It is bad for the image we have strived to create,” said a senior JDU leader.