The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in Bihar held the Nitish Kumar-led coalition government responsible for the "targeted attacks" against its leaders.
State BJP President Sanjay Jaiswal slammed the Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) government for an "inadequate" effort to stop attacks by those protesting against the Centre's 'Agnipath' scheme that envisages recruitment of soldiers on a short-term contractual basis.
Based on reports received from central intelligence agencies, the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) accorded additional security to the deputy chief ministers of Bihar and some MLAs on Saturday.
A VIP security cover of the CRPF has been provided for 10 Bihar (BJP) legislators, including Deputy Chief Minister Renu Devi, state BJP president MP Sanjay Jaiswal, Bisfi MLA Haribhushan Thakur, and Darbhanga MLA Sanjay Saraogi. The Y category security cover will entail two-three commandos with the protectee, officials said, reported PTI.
Jaiswal and Devi’s houses and several BJP offices were vandalised by the protesters on 17 June.
‘Targeting People at the Behest of the Administration'
A large police contingent has been deployed in front of the state headquarters of the BJP.
Jaiswal told reporters on Saturday that, "When protesters attacked my house in Bettiah district on Friday, we called the fire brigade... they said fire tenders would come only if the local administration allows it."
“Targeting people at the behest of the administration and torching offices of a particular party with police as mute spectators are unacceptable,” he alleged.
"We are part of the ruling alliance, but something like this has not happened anywhere in the country. It is happening only in Bihar. As a leader of the BJP, I condemn this incident and if this is not stopped, it won't be good for anyone," he said.
Bihar CM Sought Review of Scheme
Meanwhile, Chief Minister Nitish Kumar's Janata Dal (United), alliance partner of the BJP in the state and at the Centre, sought a review of the scheme, and urged the Union government to allay the fears of the protesters.
JD(U)'s national chief Rajiv Ranjan clarified that the protests are happening because “young people are concerned about their future.”
“Of course violence is not the way. We can't accept violence. But the BJP should also listen to what is worrying these young people and their concerns. Instead, the BJP is blaming the administration," he said in a video.
He said that the administration has no role to play in the agitation by the youth as it is happening in other states too.
Election strategist Prashant Kishor who was sacked by the CM as his party's No 2 in 2020, commented on the friction between the two alliance partners.
"For Agnipath, there should be agitation, not violence and sabotage. The people of Bihar are bearing the brunt of the conflict between JD(U) and BJP. Bihar is burning and the leaders of both the parties are busy sparring and counter-alleging each other instead of solving the matter," he tweeted.
24-Hour Bandh Demanding Rollback of Scheme Underway
Violent protests continued in Bihar for the fourth consecutive day as a railway station and a police vehicle were torched.
Over 180 trains were cancelled and six were terminated on Saturday considering the threat of harm to railway property and passengers.
“As a precautionary measure, plying of trains originating in other zones will remain suspended till 2000 hours. The restrictions will be re-imposed between 0400 hours and 2000 hours on Sunday to ensure safety and security of passengers and railway property,” said East Central Railway (ECR) Chief Public Relations Officer Virendra Kumar, reported PTI.
Several student associations in the state, led by the All India Students’ Association (AISA), called for a 24-hour bandh demanding immediate rollback of the recruitment model on Saturday and is still underway.