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Hundreds of RJD Leaders, Workers Protest Against ED, BJP and Modi

Several RJD MLAs and MLCs, including former ministers, joined the protest against the ED and the BJP-led Central government.

RJD supporters protest against JD(U) chief Nitish Kumar, outside RJD chief Lalu Prasad Yadav's residence in Patna, Sunday, Jan. 28, 2024. (PTI Photo)

Patna: Hundreds of opposition RJD (Rashtriya Janata Dal) leaders, workers and supporters staged a protest in Patna on Tuesday, the second consecutive day, against the Enforcement Directorate and the BJP-led (Bharatiya Janata Party) Central government for 'targeting' opposition leaders.

A day after ailing RJD chief Lalu Prasad, 76, was questioned by ED for over 10 hours at its office in connection with an alleged land-for-job scam case probe, today(on Tuesday) it is the turn of RJD leader and former deputy chief minister Tejashwi Yadav at ED office for questioning in the same case. ED summoned Tejashwi Yadav for questioning on January 30.

According to police officials, when Tejashwi Yadav reached the ED office after 11 am, a large number of protesting RJD leaders, workers and supporters surrounded his vehicle for more than 10 minutes and shouted slogans against ED and Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Tejashwi Yadav, with folded hands, requested his party workers to allow him to appear before ED for questioning. After that, protesting RJD workers calmed down and made way for him to enter the ED office.

Angry over the hours-long questioning of Lalu Prasad Yadav by ED to "harass him for political vendetta and political conspiracy", RJD leaders and workers, who sat on the road outside the main gate of ED's office on Tuesday, raised slogans like "ED Down Down", and "Modi- Shah (Amit) Murdabad".

Several RJD MLAs and MLCs, including former ministers, joined the protest against the ED and the BJP-led Central government.

On Monday, when Lalu Prasad Yadav was questioned by ED, RJD leaders, workers, and supporters sat outside the ED office here till late at night, shouting slogans and expressing anger against Modi and Amit Shah. Lalu Prasad Yadav's elder daughter, Misa Bharti, a Rajya Sabha MP, who accompanied Lalu Prasad Yadav to the ED office, sat along with protesting RJD workers till 9 pm when Lalu Prasad Yadav came out after hours-long questioning.

Taking note of the protest by a large number of RJD leaders, workers and supporters against the ED, additional security forces have been deployed in and outside the ED office by the district administration.

Lalu Prasad Yadav, Rabri Devi, Misa Bharti and Hema Yadav are named in the FIR filed by CBI among 14 accused in the case.

RJD MLA and former minister Chandrasekhar told NewsClick that the BJP-led Central government is using ED, CBI and IT against Opposition leaders for raising questions and speaking against its Hindutva agenda.

The RJD leader said the so-called land-for-job case is nothing but a move to silence the opposition. 

"Lalu ji and Tejashwi Yadav are vocal against RSS, BJP and Modi-Shah. The Central government is deliberately targeting them, but RJD will not bow down."

Another RJD leader, Shakti Yadav, said the Modi government has been using central agencies to create trouble for Laluji, former chief minister Rabri Devi Ji for their political move to challenge BJP and Modi ahead of the 2024 Lok Sabha polls. 

"Last March, ahead of the festival of colours, the CBI team was used to harass them, and their residence was raided."

The latest questioning of Lalu Prasad Yadav and Tejashwi Yadav by ED came after the president of Janata Dal-United (JD-U), Nitish Kumar, resigned as Mahagathbandhan's chief minister and joined hands with BJP-led NDA and formed a new government on Sunday.

Kimar ended its alliance with the Mahagathbandhan coalition, a part of the Opposition alliance, the Indian National Developmental Inclusive Alliance (INDIA). This is a big jolt to INDIA, which is gearing up to take on BJP led by Modi in the 2024 Lok Sabha elections.

In May 2022, the CBI raided 16 premises linked to Lalu Prasad Yadav in connection with the case. At the time, CBI also searched multiple locations in Delhi and Bihar after initiating a preliminary inquiry on September 23, 2021, into the charges that several persons were appointed as substitutes to Group-D posts in exchange for seven land parcels in Patna. As per the charges, these land parcels were allegedly acquired by Lalu Prasad Yadav's family when he was the Railway minister in the UPA (United Progressive Alliance) government.

Later, in July 2022, the CBI arrested RJD leader Bhola Yadav, who was OSD (Officer on Special Duty) of Lalu Prasad Yadav when he was railway minister. The CBI filed a chargesheet in October 2022 for criminal conspiracy and corruption offences against the accused.

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