BJP leader Giriraj Singh. Image Courtesy: The Hindu
Patna: Ruling BJP allies LJP and JD-U have publicly expressed their dismay and discomfort with Union Minister Giriraj Singh’s latest hate speech that all Muslims should have been sent to Pakistan in 1947. This assumes political significance ahead of the Bihar Assembly polls scheduled later this year.
On Friday, Lok Janshakti Party (LJP) president Chirag Paswan advised Singh to draw lessons from the recent Delhi assembly elections before saying anything to divide the society. ”I will never support any statement that divides the society. Giriraj Singh should learn from Delhi elections and avoid saying anything that hurts others,”Paswan, who is an MP from Jamui, said minutes before launching his first political Yatra -"Bihar First-Bihari First" to reach out to people across the state.
Son of Union Minister Ram Vilas Paswan, Chirag said that Singh should not make hate speeches that spread anarchy and divisiveness. ”Our thinking is to take along all together and I strongly believe and hope similar from the top leadership of BJP”, he said, adding that ”None other than senior BJP leader and Union Home Minister Amit Shah had admitted that hate speeches had harmed the party in Delhi elections .”
Similarly, the Janata Dal (United) also distanced itself from Singh’s hate speech. Party spokesperson Arvind Nishad said: “Singh has been ignoring order of the BJP president J P Nadda, who had asked him not to make any such statement. But it appears he has no regard for directive of his own party president”.
On Thursday in Bihar’s Purnia district, Giriraj Singh said "It is the time to commit ourselves to the nation. Before 1947, (Muhammad Ali) Jinnah pushed for an Islamic nation. It was a big lapse by our ancestors that we're paying the price for. If at that time Muslim brothers had been sent there and Hindus brought here, we wouldn't be in this situation. If Bharatvanshiyas don't get shelter here, where will they go?"
On Friday, the senior BJP leader again made a controversial remark in response to AIMIM leader Waris Pathan's hate speech and taunted the opposition Rashtriya Janata Dal-Congress combine in Bihar and the "tukde tukde gang" ( coined by the BJP) whether they wanted to "convert India into Pakistan".
Singh, a vocal champion of Hindutva politics, has earlier publicly attacked JD-U and chief minister Nitish Kumar for opposing abrogation of Article 370, Triple Talaq and National Register of Citizens.
However, both LJP and JD-U, who claim a secular identity of their party, are fully aware that in the caste-ridden politics of Bihar, they cannot make any difference without support and votes from Muslims, who form 16.5% of the state’s 105 million population, as per the 2011 census.
The BJP, however, is confident of its social support base among the powerful upper castes, specific sections of Other Backward Classes, Economically Backward Classes and dalits remaining intact.
According to political observers, in more than 50 of the 243 Assembly seats in Bihar, Muslim voters play an important role. There are reports of increasing restlessness among over two dozen JD-U MLAs, including half a dozen Muslim MLAs, owing to the anti-incumbency mood on the ground.
JD-U’s Muslim MLAs, majority of whom have been elected from Muslim-majority Seemanchal region—comprising Kishanganj, Purnea, Araria and Katihar districts—are dealing with an uncomfortable situation following JD-U’s support to Citizenship (Amendment) Act.