A BJP leader in Bihar on Thursday died while taking part in a ’Vidhan Sabha march’ against the state's Nitish Kumar government, evoking allegations from senior party leaders that he was ”killed in a brutal lathi charge”.
The party's Jehanabad district general secretary Vijay Singh, said to be in his 40s, was brought in an unconscious state to the Patna Medical College and Hospital where he died, PMCH Superintendent Dr I S Thakur said.
Union Minister of State for Home Nityanand Rai, a former state BJP president, told reporters that the death of Vijay Singh during the protest march was a ”sacrificial offering”.
”Besides, thousands of BJP workers have been injured, some of them seriously, while lending their voice to the state's students and youngsters. The injured include many women and members of Parliament and the state legislature,” alleged Rai, who represents the Ujiyarpur Lok Sabha seat.
Officials were tight-lipped about Singh’s cause of death. the district administration in Patna came out with a brief statement asserting that ”no injury marks” were found on Singh’s body.
The statement claimed Singh was found ”in an unconscious state on the roadside in Chhajju Bagh locality” from where he was taken to PMCH, the state's largest government hospital.
"He was admitted to the ICU but died during treatment," the PMCH superintendent said.
The cause of the death could not be ascertained till post-mortem examination is conducted, another PMCH official said.
Scores of BJP workers, including senior leaders like former deputy chief ministers Sushil Kumar Modi and Renu Devi, were rounded up by the police and taken to a police station after they tried to cross the barricades put up at the Dak Bungalow Crossing in the state capital.
The ’Vidhan Sabha march’, which was organised in support of agitations against the state government's teacher recruitment policy, commenced from the Gandhi Maidan and was stopped a couple of kilometres away from the assembly premises.
Besides batons, the police used water cannons and also took recourse to bursting tear gas shells to disperse the BJP workers who tried to breach the barricades.
Maharajganj Lok Sabha MP Janardan Singh Sigriwal, in his 60s, showed a wound on his head to journalists.
BJP president JP Nadda claimed in a tweet that the lathi charge on BJP workers is the result of the failure and indignation of the state government.
”The Mahagathbandhan government is attacking democracy to save the citadel of corruption. To save the person who has been charge-sheeted, the chief minister of Bihar has even forgotten his morality,” he said.
Without naming Bihar Deputy Chief Minister Tejashwi Yadav, Nadda was referring to the RJD leader against whom the CBI has filed a charge sheet in the land for jobs scam.
The RJD, which is part of the ruling Mahagathbandhan, however, came out with a statement mocking BJP leaders for ”keeping their attention focused on getting photographed”.
It also alleged that many of the protestors had hurled ”chilli powder and pebbles” at the police personnel on duty.
The BJP is accusing Tejashwi Yadav of going back on the promise of ”10 lakh jobs” made during the 2020 assembly elections.
Besides, the saffron party has been seeking the resignation of the young RJD leader following a fresh CBI charge sheet in the land for jobs scam.
Leader of the opposition in the assembly Vijay Kumar Sinha, who had walked out during the Question Hour after a couple of BJP MLAs were evicted by marshals for unruly behaviour, sat on a dharna outside the assembly premises during the post-lunch procession.
”I kept pleading with the police that let me allow to take part in the debate on the supplementary budget. But I was let off too late. This government is now taking recourse to sticks and bullets,” Sinha alleged.
A former speaker himself, Sinha, who has been accusing the chair of ”acting as an instrument of the government” also announced that he would now lead a ”Raj Bhavan march” on Friday to apprise the governor of the situation.
”The governor is the custodian of the legislature. We now need to seek his protection. The government in the state is now trying to crush by force our voice which we are duty bound to raise in support of the people,” alleged Sinha.
Former Lok Janshakti Party chief Chirag Paswan, who is expected to join the NDA soon, also came out with a message condemning "death of an unarmed BJP worker, fighting for the rights of Biharis".
Chirag also accused Chief Minister Nitish Kumar, his bete noir, of being "drunk on power".