BJP at odds with its ally JD(U) over Agnipath scheme

Fault lines deepened between the ruling alliance in Bihar on Saturday, with both the Bharatiya Janata Party and the Janata Dal (United) trading charges against each other in the wake of attacks on BJP leaders and offices in the past three days during the protests against the new military recruitment policy.

BJP state president and West Champaran MP Sanjay Jaiswal, whose house at Bettiah was vandalized on Friday, raised questions on the working of police, a department directly under the control of chief minister Nitish Kumar, at a media briefing on Saturday.

The JD (U) countered BJP’s allegation by saying that the BJP leader “is not balanced.”

“In Bihar, people associated with the BJP and its offices were targeted, while the administration and police watched silently,” Jaiswal alleged. “Three hundred policemen were standing as a mute spectators when the BJP office at Madhepura was attacked. What action has been taken against policemen?”

“What happened in Bihar has not happened elsewhere in the nation. We are also part of the government,” he said. “As a president of BJP, I oppose this. And if such things are not stopped, it does not augur well for all.”

Jaiswal asked its alliance partner to articulate its points of opposition. “What are they opposing about the new scheme? They should tell clearly,” he said. “If only they tell the points of opposition on the scheme, then only discussion can be held.”

On Thursday, JD (U) leaders, including party national president Rajiv Ranjan Singh, also known as Lalan Singh, and Upendra Kushwaha, chairman of the party’s parliamentary board, had demanded that the central government should reconsider the new military recruitment scheme.

The protestors attacked the houses of deputy chief minister Renu Devi and Jaiswal at Bettiah, and Chapra MLA C N Gupta. They and also attacked the houses of BJP MLAs Aruna Devi and Binay BIhari. BJP offices at Nawada, Madhepura, Sasaram were vandalized.

Countering Jaiswal’s allegation, Lalan Singh asked the BJP not to tutor chief minister Kumar on governance. “Nitish Kumar is known for good governance and he knows how to run the government,” said Singh, adding that the administration was doing its work in containing the violent protests.

“This type of allegations and reactions show that he is not balanced,” Singh said, responding to the charges made by Jaiswal.

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