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Tuesday, November 28, 2023

Opposition Leaders Shot Dead, Ex-CM Convoy attacked in Bihar: Jungle Raj 2

The law & order situation in Bihar continues to deteriorate rapidly. Yesterday, two leaders of the opposition LJP (Lok Janshakti Party), an NDA alliance member, were shot dead by suspected Maoists in Gaya district, Today, ex-CM of Bihar, Jitan Ram Manjhi, had a providential escape when the police pilot vehicle accompanying his convoy was attacked and set on fire.

According to a report in Zee News –

“Former Bihar chief minister Jitan Ram Manjhi had a miraculous escape after villagers protesting against the murder of LJP leader Sudesh Paswan attacked a car in his convoy and set it on fire.

As per reports, Manjhi was on his way to meet Paswan’s family in Dumaria in Gaya district when the police escort leading his convoy was stopped by protesting villagers.

The villagers lost their cool on seeing a police vehicle and vented their anger by setting it on fire. Minutes later Jitan Ram Manjhi arrived at the spot and was advised by police to not proceed further given the tense situation in the area.

Dumara, a town around 100 kms from district headquarter Gaya, is a Naxal-infested area. Sudesh Paswan and his cousin Sunil Paswan , who is a panchayat poll candidate, who was going with his cousin Sunil Paswan and some supporters, were waylaid in Dubat Tola by suspected Maoists who then fired killing both.”

LJP leader Sudesh Paswan and his brother Sunil Paswan were shot dead in broad daylight only 100 km from Patna, yesterday. Early this week, Maoists slit the throats of three people for allegedly working as police informers.

Jitan Ram Manjhi is a Hindu Dalit leader who has been affiliated with several political parties, including JD(U) (2005–2015), before he launched his own party Hindustani Awam Morcha in 2015 and fought the recent Bihar assembly elections in alliance with BJP. Manjhi was installed as CM in 2014 by Nitish Kumar who resigned from the CM’s post owning ‘moral responsibility’ for JDU’s rout in the 2014 Lok Sabha elections. After 10 months, Nitish no longer felt ‘moral responsibility’ and asked Manjhi to vacate the CM chair and pave the way for his return. But to his surprise and consternation, Manjhi refused, following which he was expelled from the JDU and lost the CM post.

Manjhi had later alleged that Nitish Kumar had got the CM’s residence, ‘Bihar Nivas’ washed with Ganga jal to purify it after he, a Mahadalit, had occupied the premises for 10 months. He also alleged that Laloo Yadav’s RJD party workers had washed a statue of iconic leader Ram Manohar Lohia after he (Manjhi) garlanded it.

Non-stop attacks on Opposition leaders in Bihar Herald Jungle Raj – 2

Ever since the JDU-RJD-Congress alliance won the 2015 Bihar assembly elections, the state has been reeling with violent crime, in what locals are calling as ‘Jungle Raj-2’ (‘Jungle Raj‘, or Rule of the Jungle, being the epithet given to the period from 1990-2005 when Bihar suffered from extreme lawlessness in the form of corruption, kidnappings and crime, under Laloo Prasad Yadav’s RJD regime). And the attacks on opposition leaders and party workers have picked up pace since the ‘Mahagatbandhan’ (Grand Alliance) won the assembly elections  6 months back.

In February, The LJP leader, Baijnathi Singh who’s son had contested last year’s Assembly elections against Lalu Prasad’s son Tejaswi Yadav, was gunned down with AK-47s. Two weeks later, 2 BJP leaders – Visheshwar Ojha (vice-president of Bihar BJP) and Kedar Singh – were gunned down within 24 hours. Incidents of ordinary citizens being shot dead for the ‘crime’ of overtaking vehicles belonging to ruling party legislators or their families tell a story of a state where those in power are taking the law for granted.

Currently, Laloo’s 26 year old son Tejaswi is the Deputy Chief Minister of Bihar, and another son Tej Pratap is Minister for Health. Laloo’s illiterate wife Rabri Devi, who served 3 terms as CM of Bihar between 1997 – 2005, has just been nominated by RJD to become a Rajya Sabha MP.

RJD has 80 seats in Bihar Assembly (the other 2 alliance partners, JDU and Congress, have 71 and 27 seats respectively) and most astute political observers believe that the reins of power in Bihar are firmly in the hands of Laloo. CM Nitish Kumar has his eyes firmly set on the 2019 Lok Sabha elections and in positioning himself  as a potential PM candidate of the ‘secular’ front.

The cracks between JDU & RJD, two arch-enemies turned alliance partners united by their hatred for a common enemy (Narendra Modi), are never far under the surface. Recently, RJD MP Mohammad Taslimuddin hit out at the Nitish Kumar government saying it has failed to ensure law and order in the state. “His (Nitsh Kumar’s) first job is administration, to give security. Is it happening? Banks are being looted, journalists are being killed, what is this? He said will give a clean administration, people are in distress today, who is responsible? Who will stop the crimes, isn’t it his job?” Taslimuddin questioned.

But in all the political bickering and media/civil society apathy, it is the poor people of Bihar who are suffering. One wonders why the ‘Award Wapsi’ and ‘Intolerance Rising’ gang is silent now?

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