Muzaffarpur Shelter Rape incident sparked off criss-cross reactions

Shams Khan

The Muzaffarpur minor girls’ rape case has dented the image of Bihar CM Nitish Kumar as well as considerably reduced his bargaining position within NDA. At the same time it has given an opportunity to opposition parties to gang up under one banner.

The August 4, candle march to protest against the girls’ rape at Jantar Manter in the national capital led by Bihar opposition leader Tejashawi Yadav drew sizeable crowd and joined by a number of opposition leaders including Congress President Rahul Gandhi, Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal, CPI (M) general secretary Sita Ram Yachuri, CPI leader D Raja and Former JDU leader Sharad Yadav.

Notwithstanding the united protest put up by the opposition, a section of media raised the issue that Rahul Gandhi’s speech was soft towards Nitish. A political observer, however, pointed out that it may be part of the strategy. “Rahul Gandhi maintained the hierarchy in criticism: while barely touching upon the Muzaffarpur episode Congress president chose to stick with larger issues prevailing in the country and targeted BJP and RSS for it; On the other hand, Tejashwi and other leaders specifically dealt with the horrific issue and attacked Bihar government”.

JDU General Secretary K C Tayagi was quick to appreciate Rahul Gandhi for, according to him, a balanced speech. Tyagi seems to be reciprocating the BJP as many of its leaders have been adding 'fuel to the fire' by backing opposition's demand of Social Welfare Minister Manju Verma’s resignation. Former State BJP president Gopal Narayan Singh and former Union Minister C.P. Thakur have openly sought the resignation of Manju. Moreover, According to media reports, JDU smelled a 'BJP headquarter plot' in the Governor Satyapal Malik letter to Patna High Court, Union Law Minister Ravi Shankar Parsad and Bihar CM over the incident.

Hence, K.C. Tayagi sensed an opportunity to rake up another round of speculations of bonhomie between Congress president and Nitish, which could boost JDU bargaining position.

Nitish in a press conference in Patna on Monday, August 6 said: “Jo paap karega, woh bachega nahi,” (whoever has sinned will not be saved). “If someone related to the Minister is involved, they won't be spared,” “But why is this issue being raised only now. We had called her and she denied any involvement. How is it justified to level baseless allegations?”

"The Muzzaffpur incident has exposed Nitish Kumar so called 'conscience '. When corruption allegation were levelled against the then deputy CM Tejashwi yadav, Nitish straight away switched sides without giving ample opportunity to the former to explain his position. However, now when far more serious charges are made against the husband of a Minister under whose watch the shelter home was running, where the heinous crimes against small girls took place, the same Nitish Kumar is justifying her stay in the office. Has any such incident happened in 70 years of independent India." an RJD leader told Bihar Times.

Indeed, Nitish would be well aware that the minister's 'denial before him' could hardly a suitable ground for her continuation in the office.



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