Bihar opposition slams Union Minister’s call to ‘beat up’ unresponsive officials

Nitish Kumar refuses to comment on Giriraj Singh’s remarks.

A day after Union Minister and senior Bihar BJP leader Giriraj Singh advised people of his constituency in Begusarai to “beat up public representatives and officials if they don’t listen to you”, opposition leaders asked why the Centre had not taken any action against him.

“If they (MPs, MLAs, village heads, government officials) don’t listen to you, beat them up. Neither do we ask them to do anything wrong, nor will we tolerate their nanga naach (open wrong doing),” the Union Minister for Fisheries, Animal Husbandry and Dairy Farming had said at an event organised by an agricultural science centre at Khodawanpur in Begusarai district on Saturday.

He went on to say that he “frequently receives complaints from people that officials concerned often pay little attention to their grievances and I ask them why they come to me for such small things. MPs, MLAs, village mukhias (heads), DMs, SDMs, BDOs all are under obligation to serve you people… They’re there because of you, you’re not because of them and if they do not listen to you beat them up.”

“If even that doesn’t work, then Giriraj shall throw his weight behind you,” the Minister said amid loud applause from the audience.

On Sunday, when media persons sought a response from Chief Minister Nitish Kumar, who is in an alliance with the BJP in Bihar, to Mr. Singh’s remark, he said, “Aap unhi se puchiye (you should ask him)”.

Mr. Kumar then added, “Is it appropriate to use words like pitai (beating)? Ask him.”

The opposition Rashtriya Janata Dal hit out at the Bihar government and the BJP leader’s remark. “Are these two parties [BJP-JD(U)] are running a government or a mahajungle raj (utter lawlessness) in the State?” the RJD tweeted in Hindi.

The Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) leader and spokesperson Sudhindra Bhadoria said such remarks might create law and order problems in the State. “Why has the Centre not taken any action against the Union Minister,” he asked.

NDA leaders in Bihar played down the remaks and said Mr. Singh’s remark should not be taken literally.

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