- President of India honours freedom fighters at Bihar event
- Lalu Yadav and Rahul Gandhi are present; not ok, says BJP
- They are named in criminal cases, it's insult to freedom fighters: BJP
The opposition said that given that Lalu, as supporters call him, is named in criminal cases of corruption (he cannot run for office unless his conviction is over-turned by the Supreme Court), it is inappropriate for him to share top billing with the President at the event.
"We stayed away because Lalu, who's convicted, was called for this function," said BJP leader Mangal Pandey. Home Minister Rajnath Singh cancelled his appearance for the event, allegedly triggering his party's boycott.
BJP leader Sushil Kumar Modi said similarly, Rahul Gandhi is being tried for fraud in a case that alleges his family has misappropriated the vast real estate assets of a company that published the National Herald, a newspaper now defunct, that was begun by his grandfather and former Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru.
Lalu said the BJP's boycott was dripping with irony. "Those who did not participate in the freedom struggle and backed Nathuram Godse (Gandhi's assassin) are now giving lessons in boycotting."
Nitish are you insulting or felicitating freedom fighters by inviting Lalu convict in scam & Rahul on bail in NH case?Sushil Kumar Modi (@SushilModi) April 17, 2017
Chief Minister Nitish Kumar was cheery, stating, "We offer thanks to those who showed up - and those who didn't." But this was not the party function but a government function to felicitate the freedom fighters who have come from all over the country .
Like Lalu, the Congress is a member of the Chief Minister's coalition government in Bihar.