Past poser on Lalu & Nitish future

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By Dipak Mishra
  • Published 3.01.15

Patna, Jan. 2: Former chief minister Nitish Kumar and RJD chief Lalu Prasad are in "undo-the-past" mode.

Realising their opponent would go overboard on reminding people of their past enmity, the bitter foes who joined hands in 2014 after 17 years to keep the BJP at bay from power in the state have started cajoling people that the past would not be repeated. On the first day of 2015, Nitish pledged he would not allow the " jungle raj" (lawlessness) to resurface despite taking Lalu in his boat. Today, Lalu urged masses not to be scared of him.

The Lalu-Rabri Devi regime had earned the infamous " jungle raj" tag because of rampant crime in the state. Successful professionals and businessmen were scared of venturing out after dusk fearing abduction. Night out was never an option for women then.

Fearing " jungle raj" would be a key component of the BJP's campaigning before the Assembly polls, Nitish yesterday went in " Main Hoon Naa" (I am there) mode to win the confidence of masses. "Nobody has to fear Lalu. I am here. I shall not allow a repeat of jungle raj," he had told reporters on the New Year's Day.

On Friday, Lalu agreed. "No Bihari has to fear me. The BJP is raising a bogey as if I am a ghost. Biharis are a politically conscious lot. And they will not buy the BJP's logic," he said. He also recalled that when Nitish was with the BJP, the party was never tired of praising the latter.

Lalu said the merger of the RJD and the JDU was a natural process. "All the JDU leaders left this party (read RJD) for one reason or the other. Now that the political situation has changed, we are regrouping. I do not look back at the past. I look towards the future," he said.

The BJP leaders are amused by the strategy of Lalu and Nitish. Sushil Kumar Modi today said from Sitamarhi: "The jungle raj-II has begun. The crime graph has soared. Siwan is again becoming a terrorised district and Rs 2.5 crore was paid to abductors for the release of a kidnapped businessman in Muzaffarpur. Doctors of Patna are being forced to pay extortion money. A DSP was killed in daylight. The strong-arm tactics of persons like Rit Lal Yadav and Prabhunath Singh can be seen everyday. Nitish ji has not been able to stop these things," said Modi.

Sitamarhi is in turmoil for the past three days following the murder of a prominent businessman.

Nand Kishore Yadav pointed at police statistics indicating a rise in crime. "During the RJD days, criminals enjoyed state patronage. After the alliance with the RJD, the government is providing patronage to criminals," said Yadav.

When the NDA came to power in 2005, improving the law and order was its biggest challenge. The Nitish government was able to check crime by speedy trial of criminals and strict policing. Nitish had himself taunted the law and order condition during the Lalu-Rabri era in the past. He used to say that during the RJD regime, people seldom ventured out in the night hours but under his regime, people were on the streets even after midnight.