Nitish takes on Lalu and family at virtual rally
Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar on Monday launched his campaign for the Assembly election with a personal attack on rival Lalu Prasad, bringing up on a public stage an ugly dispute within the Rashtriya Janata Dal leader’s family.
Addressing a virtual rally, Nishchay Samvad, at which he spoke for three hours non-stop, Nitish also invoked dead actor Sushant Singh Rajput besides speaking of the work done by his government in the past 15 years.
The chief minister referred to Lalu’s daughter-in-law Aishwarya Rai and said: “What behaviour was meted out to her? She is so educated, but this was done to her. I don’t want to say anything because it is a family matter, but it is such a sad thing. Imagine what has been done to the granddaughter of late Daroga Prasad Rai.”
Nitish further alleged that the RJD chief had mistreated family members of all those who had helped him in politics.
“You indulge in nepotism. Family is everything for you. But what about the families of those people who helped you? Their families do not matter anything for you,” the Janata Dal United leader said.
Daroga Prasad Rai was a chief minister of undivided Bihar, a stalwart who was considered the undisputed leader of Yadavs during his time. His son and Aishwarya’s father Chandrika Rai, an MLA, joined the JDU last month after quitting the RJD.
Aishwarya got married to Lalu’s eldest son Tej Pratap Yadav, a legislator from Mahua, in May 2018. The match was seen as the coming together of the two best-known Yadav families in the state. However, just five months into the marriage, Tej Pratap filed a divorce petition in the Patna civil court. The case is pending and the couple are living separately.
Aishwarya has alleged that she was tortured, assaulted and thrown out of her in-laws’ house by former chief minister and Tej Pratap’s mother Rabri Devi. She registered an FIR against Rabri Devi, Tej Pratap and his sister Misa Bharti in December 2019, accusing them of physical assault, mental torture, domestic violence and demanding dowry.
Nitish also lambasted Lalu, now serving time in Ranchi after being convicted in fodder scam cases, for tweeting that he (Nitish) was a burden on Bihar.
“I work so I am a burden on the state, but you are in jail so people are free from you. When people gave you an opportunity to work you didn’t. I got an opportunity and I worked. I will work till people give me a chance to work. Service is my religion,” the chief minister said.
In a bitter attack on the RJD, Nitish termed the 15-year rule of Lalu and his wife Rabri Devi as “pati-patni raj (husband-wife rule)” and compared the condition of roads, crime, electricity, disaster relief, corruption and communalism during their time with his own tenure.
“That was a time when it was difficult to understand whether the road had potholes and ditches or vice-versa. Massacres would happen and the condition of law and order is not hidden from the public. People used to roam freely with firearms jutting out of their vehicles,” Nitish said.
The chief minister joined ally BJP in invoking Patna-born actor Sushant, who was found dead in his apartment in Mumbai on June 14.
Paying tribute to the deceased actor, Nitish said the incident had not only affected his family and Bihar, but also crores of people across the country while “the probe that should have happened there (in Mumbai) was not happening”.
“Investigations were started immediately after Sushant’s father lodged a case here (Patna). We referred it to the CBI with his consent on August 4, which is now probing it. We have faith that the truth related to his death will come out and justice will be delivered,” Nitish said.
Nitish also detailed the steps taken to fight the coronavirus pandemic and floods. He said that 15 lakh workers who arrived from other states were quarantined for 14 days and Rs 1,640 crore was spent on them.
He also said 16.62 lakh flood affected families in the state have been given gratuitous relief of Rs 6,000 each and a total of Rs 998 crore sent to their bank accounts. He also contested the claims of deteriorating law and order in the state and said that Bihar ranked 23rd among all the states in crime.
JDU officials said that Nitish’s virtual rally attracted 16.8k visitors in the digital realm.