Patna: In a first major reflection of strain within the Grand Secular Alliance government in Bihar, the JD(U) on Monday strongly reacted to RJD leader Raghubansh Prasad Singh's remarks backing the comments of Mohammad Shahabuddin on Chief Minister Nitish Kumar.
The party also appealed to RJD chief Lalu Prasad to enforce the code of 'gatbandhan dharma (coalition principles)'among his partymen.
"We appeal to RJD president Lalu Prasad to rein in leaders like Raghubansh Prasad Singh who are regularly making irresponsible remarks. Prasad should enforce the code of 'gatbandhan dharma' among his party leaders and instill the confidence in us that such errant leaders will be disciplined," senior ministers Bijendra Prasad Yadav and Rajiv Ranjan Singh Lallan told reporters.
Kumar had on Sunday trashed Shahabuddin's comments that he was a "chief minister of circumstance" and "unimportant" and had asserted that "everybody knows about the mandate of the people".
The two JD(U) ministers sought to ignore Shahabuddin's remarks against the Chief Minister after his release from jail on bail on Saturday, but came down heavily on RJD vice president and former Union minister Raghubansh Prasad Singh.
Singh had on Sunday said, "There are different parties in the alliance and Lalu Prasad is our leader. The leaders of the alliance partners had decided to make Nitish Kumar the chief minister (even before the election). I did not favour it but they had already taken a decision."
"What is wrong in it (Shahabuddin's statement)? Nitish Kumar has indeed been a chief minister of circumstances and not because of his own strength and numbers," Singh had said.
Reacting strongly, state Energy Minister Bijendra Prasad Yadav told reporters, "Raghubansh Prasad Singh is making uncharitable remarks, laced with filth against the government and the chief minister, even more than the opposition, BJP. His comments are not dignified and guided by personal grudge."
Lallan also lashed out at senior BJP leader Sushil Kumar Modi for "regularly making statements" against the state government in the wake of Shahabuddin's release from jail after he was granted bail by the Patna High Court.
"Sushil Modi is trying to create an environment of fear among the citizens of Bihar," he alleged.
The two state ministers were dismissive of Shahabuddin's comments.
"Hundreds of people go to and come out of jail and speak filth. We do not take note of such views. For us, he is a non-entity," the two said.
"How can the comments of somebody, who is in and out of jail in criminal cases, tarnish the image of a government?" Bijendra Yadav asked, referring to the controversial former RJD MP.
Lallan Singh said there was always a "Lakshmanrekha (limit) for parties within any coalition. No JD(U) leader has ever made any comment against RJD leaders."
Coming down heavily on Sushil Kumar Modi for demanding slapping of charges under the CCA (Crime Control Act) against Shahabuddin, like expelled JD(U) MLA Anant Singh, Lallan said,
"The man who is claiming to be a law expert, should have read the 2014 Patna High Court order where it had questioned the detention of a person on the basis of a case registered nine months ago in 2013."
"How can charges under the CCA be slapped on Shahabuddin in an 11-year-old case (murder of witness)?" he asked taking a potshot at Sushil Modi.
Regarding the murder case of journalist Rajdeo Nandan at Siwan in which a close aide of Shahabuddin is in jail, Lallan asked the BJP why was the CBI yet to launch its probe even though the state government had recommended an investigation by the central agency.
Asked if the state government would appeal against the decision to grant bail to Shahabuddin in a higher court, the two ministers said there was "rule of law" in the state and the legal course would run as per laid down provisions in any case.
Bijendra Yadav said the Grand Secular Alliance came to power to fulfil the promises of the "seven resolves" of the Chief Minister which have been adopted as the "policy of governance".
The JD(U) is also mulling action against party MLA Girdhari Yadav after he was seen in the company of Shahabuddin at Bhagalpur following his release....