The Telegraph
Sunday , August 3 , 2014
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Migrant jab blows up on BJP

- Party caught off guard by MP’s comments on Biharis

Patna, Aug. 2: BJP Rajya Sabha member Vijay Goel’s statement — to stop the “inflow of migrants from Uttar Pradesh and Bihar into Delhi” — has put the party in an embarrassing situation in Bihar, particularly ahead of the crucial by-elections to 10 seats later this month.

Goel, while debating the Delhi budget in the Rajya Sabha on Wednesday, said 6 lakh people from other states come to Delhi and “most of them are from Bihar and Uttar Pradesh”. “They are a big burden on Delhi and it needed to be controlled,” he added.

While BJP leaders found it hard to explain Goel’s logic at such a time, the opposition led by Nitish Kumar has decided to exploit it to the hilt ahead of the by-election to 10 Assembly seats on August 21. “Delhi is the national capital of the country and it belongs to everyone. Biharis are not a burden rather they take the burden off. The party (BJP) is what it has in its rank and file. The BJP should explain the comments,” Nitish said on the sidelines of Swasthya Samagam programme organised by the JDU’s medical cell at SK Memorial Hall here.

Nitish’s new found ally Congress too echoed similar sentiments and termed the statement “anti-Bihari”.

“It is the BJP’s ally in Maharashtra Shiv Sena, which makes such kind of anti-Bihari statement. The BJP’s statement has exposed its concern for Bihar and its people. The BJP got a huge mandate in Bihar and now they are abusing it. People of Bihar are watching the whole incident and will teach them a lesson in the coming bypolls itself,” Bihar Pradesh Congress Committee vice-president Prem Chandra Mishra told The Telegraph.

Mishra said the most unfortunate part is that even senior Bihar BJP leaders such as Sushil Kumar Modi and Nand Kishore Yadav have been trying to cover up Goel’s statement.

Nand Kishore, the leader of Opposition in the Assembly, told The Telegraph that Goel’s statement has been misquoted. “Goel meant to say that if all the people residing in these states (Uttar Pradesh, Bihar and others) get proper facilities and opportunities in their own states, then they would not have migrated to Delhi,” he added.

Nand Kishore, however, was quick to add that the BJP has been of the view that every citizen has the right to reside, settle and do business of his/her choice in any part of the country and Delhi, the national capital, is no exception to the constitutional provision.

The BJP may be downplaying the statement of Goel, a former Union minister and former Delhi BJP president, but the statement could ruffle the sentiments of the people and may also affect the bypoll prospect in a state which has contributed in a big way in the formation of the Narendra Modi government at the Centre with 31 of 40 Lok Sabha seats.

The party is locked in a direct contest with the newly constituted “secular alliance” of the JDU-RJD-Congress, which was formed with its sole agenda of defeating the BJP in the bypolls to 10 Assembly segments. The BJP may face a keen contest and may also find it difficult to retain its six Assembly segments which it won in the 2010 Assembly polls.

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