Not the first time Giriraj has courted controversy

The BJP’s Nawada candidate Giriraj Singh. The BJP’s Nawada candidate Giriraj Singh.

The BJP’s Nawada candidate Giriraj Singh has been often in the news for making controversial remarks. Before commenting that “the place for those opposing (Narendra) Modi is Pakistan”, he had accused Nitish Kumar of “hobnobbing with IM”. Though he embarrassed the party several times, he had so far got away with it.

Singh, a two-time member of the legislative council, is contesting his first ever election from Bhumihar-dominated Nawada. He was Bihar’s cooperative minister from 2005 to 2010, and later animal husbandry minister from November 2010 till the NDA split in June 2013.

After the Patna serial blasts in October last year, he had said: “I wonder howNitish Kumar can stoop to such a level. As no probe was ordered after the Gandhi Maidan blasts, it shows that Nitish Kumar wanted to get Modi killed.” The JD(U) had taken strong exception to his statement, but he was not reprimanded by the state BJP leadership.

Even when Singh was in Nitish’s Cabinet, he had on a few occasions praised his “idol” Modi to “embarrass the party”. Singh, a resident of Baraiya under Lakhisarai district and an upper caste Bhumihar, had aspired to contest from Begusarai but settled for Nawada.

BJP legislature party leader Sushil Kumar Modi told The Indian Express: “We do not ratify his statement on Pakistan or any other controversial statement not in line with the partystand”. When BJP state president Mangal Pandey was asked if he has asked Singh to refrain from such statements, he said: “I have not spoken to him.”

The comment comes when the party is set to go to polls in Seemanchal region (Kishanganj, Katihar, Purnea and Araria) which have a sizeable Muslim population.