‘State will fight terrorism along with communalism’

Calling the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) a ‘fake Opposition’ party, who did not have the people’s mandate to sit in Opposition, Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar on Wednesday challenged his former ally to move a no-confidence motion against his government and unseat it from power.

Refuting the BJP’s accusations in the State Assembly, Mr. Kumar said, “What Opposition are we talking about? The true Opposition party is the Rashtriya Janata Dal.”

In the context of fighting Maoist insurgency, he said if blindly accusing his government could solve the problem, he was ready for the flak.

“But why do they make these accusations outside [in the media]? Why don’t they topple our weak government by bringing in a no-confidence motion against us? We will thwart their attempts to turn non-issues into issues,” he said in reply to a discussion on terrorism and Naxalism.

Mr. Kumar’s remarks come in the backdrop of Union Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde’s letter to him criticising the lack of effective measures to counter Maoist attacks.

Mr. Kumar said in the Assembly that Naxalism was a national issue, not specific to Bihar alone.

“It is a challenge to democracy. It should not be regarded narrowly in terms of failure and success. Although the intensity of recent incidents may have been high, their spread has been contained to a smaller area. We have taken the line of development. We have rolled out programmes under the integrated action plan,” he said.

On terrorism, Mr. Kumar refuted the BJP’s charges that the government did not act on the Intelligence Bureau (IB) alters. “We had no specific intelligence inputs. Nobody could have imagined such an incident in Patna. Many a political rally is routinely held at the Gandhi Maidan. I had personally assured that all the security arrangements were in place [for Narendra Modi’s ‘Hunkar’ rally on October 27]. Contrary to the lies that the blasts took place near the stage and that it was an assassination attempt, the nearest explosion was 300 metres away from the stage. They [BJP] are trading in lies.”

He said the forces of terrorism and communalism fed on each other and attempts were being made to fan communal tensions in Bihar. “I will pay with my life for maintaining the harmony in Bihar,” he said.

Water Resources Minister Vijay Kumar Choudhary, who earlier spoke on Mr. Kumar’s behalf in reply to the discussion, read out an excerpt from an IB letter dated October 23, which stated that presently, there was no specific input indicating any security threat to Mr. Modi.

The BJP, however, demanded an official probe into the security lapses of the government. The Patna district administration had instructed watch towers, metal detectors to be installed and undertake other measures for Mr. Modi’s rally, which were not implemented. “Yet the government has not fixed any responsibility for these lapses,” Nand Kishore Yadav, Leader of Opposition in the Assembly said.

BJP MLAs staged a walkout during the discussion.