BJP MP alleges tickets sold to criminals in Bihar, party rubbishes charge
Patna: In potentially
damaging remarks for BJP ahead of the high-stakes Bihar polls, its MP RK Singh
on Saturday alleged party tickets were sold to criminals, a charge dismissed as
‘baseless’ by the party but termed ‘exceptionally grave’ by rivals.
Singh, a first-time Lok
Sabha MP from Ara in the state and former Union Home Secretary, left BJP
acutely embarrassed when he said criminals were rewarded with tickets at the
cost of genuine party workers which, he contended, obliterated the distinction
between his own party and RJD chief Lalu Prasad, who was being targeted for
having established a ‘jungle raj’ when RJD ruled the state.
“Criminals have been
given tickets even before they joined the party. This is injustice to the
people of Bihar. Some people have sold tickets. What is this? How will we get
“You have given tickets
to criminals. How will you give a clean administration in Bihar. No reasons
have been given why criminals were allotted tickets. It is not that only
criminals can win elections. We as residents of Bihar are concerned. What is
the difference between you and Lalu Prasad,” Singh said in Patna.
BJP, despite the
seriousness of the allegation, was temperate in its reaction, with Union Home
Minister Rajnath Singh asserting tickets were distributed ‘fairly’.
“In BJP, wherever there
is ticket distribution, it is done fairly and after considering all aspects. As
far as Bihar is concerned, the BJP-led NDA will win a comfortable majority. It
has the support of the people of Bihar,” he said.
Ravishankar Prasad, who was in Bihar for campaigning, and Sushil Kumar Modi,
dismissed Singh’s claim about tickets having been sold to criminals.
Prasad, a Rajya Sabha
member from the state, said “In BJP, ticket is given to a nominee after
transparent discussion by senior leaders.”
BJP spokesman Siddharth
Nath Singh said the party followed a democratic and transparent process in
deciding its nominees and advised Singh to follow party discipline and
restraint. “Every leader in Bihar needs to ensure that Jungle Raj part II
doesn’t come and, at the same time, it is important that party discipline and
restraint is maintained,” he said.
Rival JD(U) was quick to
pounce on BJP following Singh’s comments, describing them as “exceptionally
grave” and alleging that BJP chief Amit Shah wants to win the election by “hook
or by crook”.
“RK Singh is a senior
member of the BJP from Bihar and he has had the courage to speak the truth. The
unfortunate thing is that nobody is willing to listen to the truth anymore in
the BJP either in Bihar or Delhi.
“Sushil Modi (BJP
leader and former Deputy CM) takes phone calls only from Amit Shah, and Amit
Shah has decided, like elsewhere in the country, that he must win in election
by hook or crook or by any other means. The allegations made by RK Singh are
exceptionally grave,” Pawan Verma, JD(U)'s national spokesman, said.
comments causing discomfiture to BJP, sources in the party said any action
against him was unlikely before the crucial polls in Bihar get over.
Singh's remarks come on
the heels of RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat's call for a review of the reservation
policy which created a political storm that prompted BJP and the Modi government
to distance themselves from it.
Nitish Kumar, the
anti-BJP alliance's chief ministerial candidate, and RJD boss Lalu Prasad,
however, quickly lapped up Bhagwat's comments to claim an attempt was being
made to tinker with the Constitutional arrangement with regard to quotas in
government jobs and state-run educational institutions.
Reservation has been a
sensitive issue in post Mandal Bihar, sharply divided on caste lines
polarisation along which may benefit JD (U)-RJD-Congress alliance given the
fact that it is led by backward class heavyweights like Nitish and Lalu. (With inputs