New Delhi: A day after Lalu Yadav's RJD retained the Araria constituency in Bihar bypolls against an aggressive campaign by the BJP, Union Minister Giriraj Singh has provoked a huge controversy by commenting that the district will become a "hub of terror".
- Nitish Kumar, ally BJP tried hard to retain the Muslim-dominated area
- But Sarfaraz Alam won the seat, vacated after his father's death, for RJD
- Minority votes led to RJD's win, BJP leaders have suggested
Araria, which fell vacant after the death of RJD leader Mohammad Taslimuddin, witnessed a tough contest with Chief Minister Nitish Kumar and his ally BJP trying hard to seize the Muslim-dominated parliamentary seat but failing. Taslimuddin's son Sarfaraz Alam won the seat for the RJD or Rashtriya Janata Dal.
A series of comments from the BJP since then have been assessed by critics as communal.
Giriraj Singh, a senior BJP leader, said Araria was not only a border area close to Nepal and Bangladesh but was also a state that had given birth to a "radical" ideology.
"This is not only a threat to Bihar but also to the country. It will be a hub of terror," said the minister known to shoot his mouth off.
His party colleague Sushil Kumar Modi, the deputy Chief Minister of Bihar, also made an unsubtle statement in a tweet last evening.
RJD got a lead of 1 Lakh 30 Thousand votes from 2 Minority dominated constituency which led to their victory in Araria.— Sushil Kumar Modi (@SushilModi) March 14, 2018
Lalu Yadav's wife Rabri Devi hit out at the comments.
"The Modi Mania, the cries of Harr Harr Modi, Ghar Ghar Modi have evaporated, so they are fretting," said the former Chief Minister. She called for Giriraj Singh's apology and added: "The people of Araria and Bihar have taught it a lesson. They should apologize. People of Araria wont forgive them in 19. Are they terrorists?" She also accused the BJP of relying on "communal colours and rioting".
This is not the first time BJP leaders have used this line, prompting allegations by the RJD and others in the opposition that it was trying to polarise voters. Muslims make up 41 per cent of the electorate in Araria.
While campaigning for the bypolls last week, Bihar BJP chief Nityanand Rai said at a rally that if RJD won Araria, the constituency would turn into a hub of the ISI, the Pakistani intelligence agency.