Patna: Differences have surfaced once again in Bihar’s ruling National Democratic Alliance over the worst ever waterlogging in Patna and floods in 14 districts, with several Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leaders, including a Union Minister, Janata Dal (United) leaders, including two state ministers, targeting, attacking and blaming each other for the failure to handle the crisis.
Senior BJP leader and Union Minister Giriraj Singh has been openly blaming JD (U) leader and Chief Minister Nitish Kumar and Deputy Chief Minister Sushil Modi, a top state BJP leader, for waterlogging in Patna for days after the heavy rainfall last week, while other state BJP leaders have also targeted the state government, which they are a part of, for poor preparedness to face such a situation in Patna.
Two days ago, Singh was the first leader from the ruling NDA to say that the waterlogging in Patna was not a natural calamity but a result of ‘mismanagement’. This was contrary to Nitish Kumar’s repeated statements that waterlogging in Patna was a result of natural calamity.
"As there is an NDA government in Bihar, all of us are responsible for it" Singh said, adding that "Nitish Kumar and Sushil Modi are responsible for what happened in Patna after heavy rainfall." He apologised to the people of Patna for the situation.
The Union minister also attacked government. "The government should take action against guilty officials". If there was prediction, forecast and warning by the India Meteorological Department and state weather department, why did officials fail to take precautionary measures,” he said.
Earlier, too, Giriraj Singh he had targeted Bihar government for poor handling of floods across the state, adding that floods provide an opportunity for the administration to loot in the name of relief.
"In Patna, people are suffering due to the fault of the state government and the administration. There is a loot in the name of relief in floods-affected areas", he said.
Singh, who belongs to powerful upper caste Bhumihar community, is a known vocal champion of Hinduvta. He is being widely seen by some of his partymen as BJP’s chief ministerial candidate in the 2020 Assembly polls in Bihar if BJP decides to contest alone. As of now, BJP is an ally of Nitish Kumar's JD-U in Bihar.
Incidentally, Singh was reportedly supported by the newly-appoinred Bihar BJP president Sanjay Jaiswal who also accused the Nitish Kumar-led government of administrative negligence.
Meanwhile, JD-U leaders are aggressively countering the BJP leaders’ statements and are blaming BJP’s Bihar ministers at the Centre.
Senior JD-U leader and Bihar minister Shayam Razak on Friday not only countered Giriraj Singh, he also attacked BJP leader and Deputy CM Sushil Kumar Modi and another BJP leader and Bihar road construction minister Nand Kishor Yadav, blaming them for hardly doing anything.
“Sushil Modi has no work except making or issuing statements. He only has concern for Rajendra Nagar, where his house is located in Patna. Similarly, Nand Kishor Yadav, who is also minister in-charge of Patna district, has concern only for Patna city. He has nothing to do with Punpun and other areas close to Patna that are affected by the floods” Razak said.
Reacting to Razak’s remarks, BJP leader Rajeev Ranjan advised the JD-U leader to focus on his work instead of making statements against BJP ministers .”For waterlogging in residential localities, the Patna Municipal Corporation is responsible. The government should take action against officials and take large-scale preventive measures to check outbreak of epidemic”, he said.
JD-U leader and Bihar minister Ashok Choudhary commented that Giriraj Singh was making statements to be in news .”Giriraj Singh should tweet what he did for flood victims or waterlogged victims and what his ministry contributed as a help to them. He hardly pays any attention to his ministry work”, he said.
Another JD-U leader and Bihar minister Sharavan Kumar asked Giriraj Singh to “make public what his ministry has done and name a single project work that his ministry had completed in Bihar.”
Amid the political slugfest within the ruling NDA, the people continue to suffer. The authorities are fearing an epidemic outbreak as the water has turned black and is emanating an unbearable stink. Animal carcasses have been seen floating. However, so far, no case of water-borne diseases or communicable diseases have been reported from waterlogged Patna.
Till date, waterlogging in Patna and floods across the state have killed 73 people and more than 20 lakh people have been affected by it.