Speakers discuss prospects of grand alliance taking off after Tejaswi’s call in the capital, wonder if Bihar scandal has potential to break up JD(U)-BJP alliance

Two months after a case of rape of 29 minor inmates of a shelter home in Muzaffarpur was lodged, Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar on Friday broke his silence and said he was ashamed about the incidents. On Saturday, Tejashwi Yadav sought Kumar’s resignation, announced a dharna and gave a call for an anti-Modi morcha (rally). Congress chief Rahul Gandhi was seen at the venue. This made some people ask, is the opposition playing politics over this horror, or is the JD(U)-BJP government in Bihar guilty of negligence and non-performance?

Saturday’s edition of Mudda asked this question to BJP spokesperson Kshemchand Sharma, Congress spokesperson Mukesh Singh, RJD spokesperson Rajesh Yadav, SP spokesperson Manoj Yadav, NCP spokesperson Santosh Gole and senior journalist Govind Pant Raju. Himanshu Dixit anchored the show.

Ordering a CBI inquiry into the matter is a laudable step on the part of the CM. Even the AAP government in Delhi has not taken any steps to redress the assault on three girls in the capital. As far as the anti-Modi morcha is concerned, I don’t think any grand alliance will be successful. Mamata Banerjee has been seen supporting anti-nationals, and no one will agree on an agenda or a common minimum programme, said Sharma.

“Nitish has broken his silence two months too late. Will he now break alliance like he did with the mahagatthbandhan? Or still fight elections as part of NDA?” asked Rajesh Yadav, rather pertinently.

“But the sex abuse has been taking place for a year now. You were in power during that time. What have you been doing? Why was your government unaware of this?” interjected Dixit.

“Why did the prime minister say a word on the matter?” said Gole. The law is the same for everyone. How can you accuse us of playing politics if we protest such a crime? The BJP has dirty linen in its closet. Also, the criminals are seen hanging out with the CM, Manoj Yadav added.

This goes against Indian values. What’s worse, it has happened under the roof of a government institution. It was the duty of the government to keep the girls safe. The social welfare minister should resign on moral grounds, opined Raju.

Social welfare minister Manju Verma’s husband’s name has been mentioned in connection with the scandal. Chandeshwar Verma used to allegedly frequent the short stay home where at least 29 minor girls were raped, tortured, and made to undergo abortion.

“We will leave no stone unturned to punish the guilty. Even the bureaucracy is involved and we will conduct a thorough probe and do the needful,” Sharma said.

On TV channels, please do not refer to this horror as a mistake. It is a crime of enormous proportions, said Manoj Yadav.

To a question, Gole responded saying there have been precedents of winning the general elections without a PM face, such as when VP Singh came to power and again during the United Front government forming in the 1996 elections. So even if there is no immediate agreement on this matter post Tejaswi’s call, it won’t go against the opposition forces.

Raju, too, said the 2019 elections will be fought on the basis of agenda and the presence or lack of a PM candidate will not affect the outcome of the polls.

—Compiled by Sucheta Dasgupta