BJP Rallies Behind Arnab’s Lalu-Shahabuddin Expose on Republic TV
Several BJP leaders not only spoke out against Lalu but also congratulated Arnab on the launch of Republic TV.
When Arnab Goswami’s Republic TV went live on Saturday, its first ‘Super Exclusive’ was an expose that included an audio recording of an alleged conversation between RJD chief Lalu Prasad Yadav and criminal-turned-politician Mohammed Shahabuddin.
The conversation In the audio clip purportedly pertains to police firing in Bihar’s Siwan district. Shahabuddin, a former RJD MP, is allegedly giving ‘instructions’ to Lalu in the audio recording and warning him of a riot if the police interfered.
Shahabuddin was convicted in the murder of Rajiv Raushan, a prime witness in another murder case involving the underworld don. There are about 45 legal cases pending against him.
In other tapes that Republic TV aired, Shahabuddin is heard criticising Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar and his liquor ban. He further goes on to claim that he will circumvent the ban through bribes.
BJP Leaders Congratulate Arnab
Sushil Kumar Modi, BJP leader and former Deputy Chief Minister of Bihar, commented on the tapes on Twitter soon after .
Gaurav Bhatia, who recently joined the BJP from the SP, said on the show:
Lalu must come forward and deny, else it’s admission by silence.
The launch of the television channel was welcomed by several BJP leaders who not only spoke out against Lalu but also congratulated Arnab on his new venture.
Union Minister Venkaiah Naidu extended his ‘best wishes’ to Arnab on Twitter:
BJP spokesperson Sambit Patra criticised the prevailing political situation in Bihar, saying that democracy has been “strangled” and demanding an explanation from the the Chief Minister.
CM Nitish Kumar is dependent on Lalu Prasad Yadav, because he has the numbers. Lalu Prasad, in fact, takes dictation from inside the jail from the don Shahabuddin.
Congress Dragged Into the Controversy
Republic TV, meanwhile, attempted to drag the Congress as well into the controversy.
While BJP leaders like Modi continued their demand for Lalu Prasad to quit public life, Congress and RJD leaders, including Lalu, are yet to respond.
Union Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad and Sushil Kumar Modi will hold separate press conferences on Saturday on the issue.
Republic TV claims that Lalu can be booked under several penal sections in the matter. Nitish Kumar summoned top police officials to his residence in connection with the issue.
Meanwhile, commenting the tapes, RJD functionary Jagdanand Singh said:
I have no idea because I have not seen the tape. You should ask the head of Tihar jail if such a thing took place. Shahabuddin is a part of the party and is not in hiding, the party will never expel him.
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