BJP first attempted to rule out claims that the accused belongs to the party, later suspended Baitha from primary membership for six years on Monday.
BJP is facing flak from opposition leaders and critics at social networking platforms for “only suspending” and not expelling a Bihar party member – who is on the run since being accused of mowing down nine children and injuring 20 others, while he, allegedly drunk despite Bihar being a dry state, was over-speeding in his sport utility vehicle (SUV) on Saturday.
While Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar is yet to say something on the tragedy, the Bihar government – a coalition of the BJP and the Janata Dal United – is also under fire from the opposition, for not making enough efforts to nab the accused.
Following the Saturday’s tragedy in Bihar, an FIR, based on the complaint from one of the victim’s father, has been lodged against the accused BJP member identified as Manoj Baitha.
Stating that a mere suspension is hardly enough, a Twitter user said, “BJP suspends Manoj Baitha for six years. Suspension is not enough. Is it a joke that the punishment for killing children is a mere suspension from the political outfit? Where is our sense of justice and what are our laws doing?”
Former cricketer and Bihar MP Kirti Azad – who once belonged to the BJP – asked, “Why hasn’t he been caught?”
Sharing a post on Twitter, Azad further added, “What a shame! @NitishKumar @SushilModi imagine your child was overrun by a drunk driver, how would you feel? Will justice be given to those who lost their children? Isnt it a pity that #ManojBaitha @BJP4India office bearer is roaming free?”
In a major setback for the party in the tragedy, BJP first attempted to rule out claims that the accused belongs to the saffron party – while it later on Monday, suspended Baitha from primary membership for six years, almost 48 hours after the tragedy.
Lawyer and member of the Swaraj Abhiyan said, “After denying knowing Manoj Baitha, who killed 9 children by his car (while driving drunk in Bihar, which has prohibition), the BJP now suspends him! And police are still looking for him! No doubt he is being hidden by BJP people.”
Hitting out at the BJP-JD(U) coalition government, former Bihar Deputy Chief Minister and Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) member Tejashwi Yadav said, “Neither Nitish Kumar nor (deputy chief minister) Sushil Modi have spoken on this or sought apology yet. The government is trying to brush this under the carpet. Kahan gayi Nitish Ji ki antaraatma? (Where is Nitish’s famed conscience now?)”
“Why hasn’t Manoj Baitha been arrested yet? News was spread that he surrendered before police. But we do not know that for sure. Only administration can say if he surrendered, was arrested or fled to Nepal,” he added.
However, from the government’s side, Deputy CM Sushil Kumar Modi made a comment.
“Manoj Baitha will be nabbed and strict punishment will be handed to him,” asserted Modi.