The Bihar police today clarified after it was revealed that it is gathering information on the RSS or Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh and its affiliates, in what could turn out to be a new point of conflict between Chief Minister Nitish Kumar and his ally BJP. The RSS is the ideological mentor of the BJP.
The Bihar home department, which reports directly to Nitish Kumar, is collecting details on the RSS and 19 related outfits. The information has been sought by the Special Branch, which is the intelligence wing of the police and briefs the Chief Minister on various sensitive issues. The letter seeks the details "within a week". Nitish Kumar, who holds additional charge of the home ministry, oversees both the Home Department and the Special Branch of the police.
"The information was sought because of a security threat," claimed police officer Jitendra Singh Gangwar after backlash over the news report.
He also said top officers were not aware of the move, so the Special Branch had been asked to explain.
The letter has angered the BJP, which co-governs Bihar with Nitish Kumar's party. Sanjay Mayukh, a BJP member of the Bihar Legislative Council, said in the house that the move was completely uncalled for.
The letter is dated May 28, just days after the May 23 national election verdict that fueled a rift between Nitish Kumar and the BJP.
State home ministry officials sought to describe the exercise as "nothing big" and just routine.
The RJD of Lalu Yadav, dumped by Nitish Kumar as an alliance partner in 2017, seized the chance to revive its demand for a ban on the RSS.
The state government move has surfaced at a time ties between Nitish Kumar and the BJP have been complicated over cabinet spots at the centre.
The Chief Minister was upset after the BJP, reveling in its supersized election tally even without allies, decided that each NDA partner would only get one spot in the union cabinet.
Nitish Kumar argued that the rule should not apply to his Janata Dal United, which won just one seat less than the BJP in Bihar.
He finally decided that his party would have no minister in Prime Minister Narendra Modi's cabinet.