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Parties go hammer and tongs at Nitish

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  • Published 8.07.13

Patna, July 7: The serial bomb blasts in the Mahabodhi temple complex has only added to chief minister’s Nitish Kumar woes and given the BJP another issue to hammer the point it has been making — the Nitish Kumar government has become weak after June 16 — the day he sacked BJP ministers and severed ties with the NDA.

“Law and order in the state, development and good governance have become non-issues. The entire effort of the chief minister is directed towards saving his government,” said former deputy chief minister Sushil Kumar Modi, holding the chief minister responsible for the first terrorist attack in Bihar.

After the break-up, the BJP’s attack on the chief minister was focused on “betrayal of the mandate”, the alleged negligence of the state government to come to the aid of Bihari pilgrims stuck in Uttarakhand and the police firing on villagers in Bagaha.

The first terrorist attack in Bihar has given the BJP its fourth issue to take on Nitish Kumar.

The party is accusing the chief minister of sitting over the Intelligence Bureau report for more than eight months. They stress that the chief minister has held the home portfolio himself and never shared information given to him by central agencies with other ministers.

“He used to get irritated whenever a minister mentioned that law and order was deteriorating,” said a former BJP minister.

The terrorist attack could not have come at a better time for the BJP when the CBI chargesheet has declared the Ishrat Jahan case as a false encounter.

JD(U) leaders were quick to dig out the Bihar link of Ishrat Jahan and declared her as Bihar ki beti (daughter of Bihar), who had been brutally killed by the Gujarat police. There were indications that JD(U) would use posters of Ishrat Jahan in the Lok Sabha elections to woo Muslims and more importantly, get at BJP’s poster boy Narendra Modi.

However after the attack, BJP leaders are taunting the JD(U). “If Ishrat Jahan is Bihar ki beti, the JD(U) may find some relationship with Bihar for those who attacked Mahabodhi temple,” said a former BJP minister. The attack appears to have put the JD(U) leaders on the backfoot, as BJP attacked Nitish Kumar of remaining a mute spectator to the fact that at least 25 persons have been arrested since 2008 for having alleged terrorist links. “It’s a subject which suits the election plan of the BJP,” admitted a JD(U) leader.

The new friendship with the Congress has translated into economical gains for Bihar — a coal block for its pending power plants and over Rs 4,300 crore for rural roads.

However, the BJP, after this terrorist attack, has been able to bring other opposition parties to sing the same tune as its.

“Nitish Kumar is more concerned about saving his government than governance. It is a criminal negligence on the part of the government to ignore such warnings,” said RJD national general secretary Vijay Krishna.

“When there is political instability, everything starts happening. As long as we were there, there was no terrorist attack. The government won appreciation for its relief and rescue work in the Kosi deluge,” said Modi. This is the public perception the party hopes to build before the next Lok Sabha polls — whitewashing Nitish Kumar’s image as an able administrator.”