Vehicles, BJP biggies' absence mar meet

Bihar BJP chief Nityanand Rai speaks at the BJP executive committee meeting in Bodhgaya on Wednesday. Picture by Suman

Gaya: The BJP's two-day executive committee meet in Bodhgaya, which ended on Wednesday, was marred by a controversy over vehicles entering no-entry zones and absence of some senior leaders.

Several participants either visited or stayed in the restricted zone beyond node 1 where one has to either walk it or engage e-rickshaws. Many a participants' vehicle violated rules. "It's unfortunate that people connected with the government are violating the ban," Bodhgaya Nagrik Vikas Manch president Suresh Singh said. "Not only is the BJP a partner in the Bihar government, several participants hold ministerial positions too."

Asked whether exemption was granted to participants, district magistrate (DM) Abhishekh Singh said he was away in Delhi and senior superintendent of police (SSP) Rajiv Mishra could give the official version. SSP Rajiv Mishra did not respond to calls made to his official cellphone.

The ban violation apart, the conspicuous absence of Union agriculture minister Radha Mohan Singh, Union minister of state for energy R.K. Singh and former Union minister and Chhapra MP Rajiv Pratap Rudy evoked curiosity. Hoardings put up by the party at prominent points from the airport to the venue meet said all Union ministers and party MPs would participate. But only Ravi Shankar Prasad, Ashwini Choubey and Giriraj Singh participated.

Asked about the absences, executive committee member and former Gaya district BJP chief Anil Swami said nothing much should be read into it. "Maybe they had other preoccupations," Swami said. "Important leaders like Gopal Narain Singh and Janardan Singh Segriwal attended."

Addressing journalists, Bhupendra Yadav, in-charge of the BJP's Bihar affairs, said the party and its allies would leave no stone unturned to win all 40 Lok Sabha seats in Bihar. Asked about the seat-sharing formula among NDA partners, BJP leaders said there was perfect understanding among the allies and there would be no hiccups in seat distribution.

He claimed welfare measures taken by the Modi government have positively affected 22 crore families and this was enough to see the party through in 2019. Bhupendra parried direct answers to a question on quota for upper castes.

At another press conference, deputy chief minister Sushil Modi called rising fuel prices an international phenomena the government can do little about. "A rupee cut in taxes will cause heavy financial losses to the state exchequer," Modi said.


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