Refutes BJP’s charge on Bhatkal’s interrogation

Terming the Bharatiya Janata Party’s Prime Ministerial candidate Narendra Modi’s ‘Hunkar’ rally in Bihar a “flop,” Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar on Monday refuted the BJP’s charge that the State played vote bank politics on the interrogation of Indian Mujahideen (IM) commander Yasin Bhatkal.

Ever since Bhatkal’s arrest in Bihar this August, the BJP has been accusing that the government prevented the police from interrogating the terror suspect with an eye on the vote bank. These charges grew louder after the Patna serial blasts in which IM’s hand was seen.

“Who stopped the agencies from interrogating Bhatkal? Are decisions about interrogations taken at the government level? This is the job of the police and investigating agencies. It’s a white lie! They should think before making these accusations. They are giving out such lies daily,” Mr. Kumar told a press conference.

Calling for a united fight against terrorism, he said, “Communalism and terrorism feed on each another.”

He criticised the BJP as a “rich party that spent money like water on rallies.”

“Given the kind of resources they spent on the rally, it was a flop. The claims made about huge attendance were hollow. Half of Gandhi Maidan was empty. Patna has seen several bigger rallies. If it were not for the terror attack, everyone would have discussed the poor show at the rally,” he said.

Mr. Kumar also refuted Mr. Modi’s charge of insensitivity in the wake of the blasts.

“Those who [Mr. Modi] went should tell if they went to Ahmedabad in 2008 after the blasts there. Which are the affected places they visited? Did they go on their own or with the Prime Minister? When the blasts occurred, the government immediately made all the arrangements. I met the victims and visited the blast sites. So they should not talk of insensitivity and stop making relentless accusations,” he said.

He questioned why such a “rich” party gave only Rs. 5 lakh to the families of the deceased victims.

Mr. Kumar reiterated that the government had made all the requisite security arrangements for the Gandhi Maidan rally.

“We paid attention to all aspects of security and protocol. Ours is not a resource-rich State. The government will provide security to any leader based on the resources it has and will seek the Centre’s help if more is needed,” he said.

“Is it the Chief Minister’s job to stand guard? Was I supposed to stand in the Gandhi Maidan with a lathi or rifle?” Mr. Kumar said.

For all future rallies at Gandhi Maidan, people would be frisked as a security measure and parties would have to bear the cost, he said.