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Nitish courts controversy after 'meeting tantrik'

Bihar Chief Minister and Janata Dal (United) leader Nitish Kumar. File photo: Ranjeet Kumar

Bihar Chief Minister and Janata Dal (United) leader Nitish Kumar. File photo: Ranjeet Kumar

In the middle of the crucial Bihar elections, a video clip showing Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar meeting a tantrik (black magician), who was seen hugging and kissing Mr. Kumar and protesting against his alliance with RJD chief Lalu Prasad has gone viral on the social media, with the BJP taking a dig over the issue. The two-minute video is said to have been released by BJP leader and Union Minister Giriraj Singh.

In the video clip, Mr. Kumar is seen sitting on a wooden cot in a dimly-lit room along with a tantrik. The tantrik suddenly hugs and kisses Mr. Kumar while whispering something in his ears. Expressing unhappiness over Mr. Kumar’s alliance with Mr. Prasad, the tantrik asks Mr. Kumar why he had joined hands with Mr. Prasad and shouts, “Lalu Yadav murdabad”, “Nitish Kumar zindabad”.

Keeping mum over the tantrik’s gesture, Mr Kumar is seen smiling throughout the video. Party spokesman Neeraj Kumar, who is contesting the Assembly poll from Mokama constituency on JD(U) ticket, and some others too are seen standing opposite Mr. Kumar.

Though the video was undated, informed sources told The Hindu that it was shot in June 2014 either at a village in Siwan or Mokama. The video clip went viral after Mr. Singh allegedly uploaded it on the social media on Saturday morning.

Meanwhile, BJP leaders in the heat of the poll campaign, found an opportunity to attack Mr. Kumar over the video. Party leader and Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said, “When the situation goes haywire, this tantra-mantra (sorcery) doesn’t work”. Asked why the BJP was targeting Mr. Kumar when BJP leaders are often seen with sants, Mr. Jaitley, making a veiled reference to the Nitish-Lalu bonhomie, replied, “Yes they are, but not to plot against their own alliance partners”.

Earlier in the day, Mr. Singh mocked Mr. Kumar, saying, “Nitish Kumar is disappointed and in distress these days, so he is trying all sorts of black magic to win the Assembly poll”. Similar was the reaction from other State BJP and NDA leaders who criticised Mr. Kumar for “going out to a tantrik seeking his blessings to win the Bihar poll which he is losing badly”.

Former Chief Minister and leader of Hindustani Awam Morcha (Secular) Jitan Ram Manjhi too attacked Mr. Kumar saying, “He (Mr Kumar) claims to be a socialist leader, but promotes orthodox beliefs by visiting tantriks”.

However, the ruling party JD(U) leaders ridiculed the BJP for making the video clip an issue. “It’s surprising that the BJP has stooped so low to make it a poll issue…the BJP knows they are going to lose this Bihar election, and is resorting to such tactics”, party leader Pawan Verma said.

“What’s wrong with visiting a sant or a tantrik? Does only the BJP have the right to pay obeisance to gods and goddesses? Do they have a copyright on sadhus and sants?” asked JD(U) leader and party spokesperson Sanjay Singh.

RJD chief Lalu Prasad, who was seemingly unaware of the video, told media persons, “I’m a bigger tantrik than others…I’m a mahatantrik,” and sped away for his campaigns.


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Printable version | Jul 1, 2022 2:21:23 pm | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/bihar-cm-nitish-kumar-courts-controversy-after-video-shows-him-meeting-tantrik/article7800304.ece