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Tuesday, January 25, 2022

Asoka controversy: Bihar BJP chief Sanjay Jaiswal lodges FIR

In his complaint, the state BJP chief Daya Prasad Sinha has hailed the legendary ruler of Magadha as "pride of Bihar" and expressed apprehensions that comments made by Sinha could spread "hatred among different communities".

By: PTI | Patna |
Updated: January 13, 2022 9:33:33 pm
BJP state president Sanjay Jaiswal

Bihar BJP president Sanjay Jaiswal on Thursday lodged an FIR against Sahitya Akademi Award winner Daya Prasad Sinha who is in the eye of a storm over controversial remarks about Emperor Asoka.

Jaiswal lodged the FIR at Kotwali police station here.

He was accompanied by a number of senior party functionaries.

In his complaint, copies of which have been made available to the media, the state BJP chief has hailed the legendary ruler of Magadha as “pride of Bihar” and expressed apprehensions that comments made by Sinha could spread “hatred among different communities”.

Jaiswal has also taken strong exception to “incorrect information” allegedly spread by Sinha, a retired bureaucrat from adjoining Uttar Pradesh, that he was the national convenor of BJP media cell.

The BJP leader has requested that Sinha be booked under relevant sections of the IPC and the IT Act.

Interestingly, Sinha was chosen for the literary award by the national academy of letters for his play based on the life of Asoka.

The controversy arose after Sinha gave an interview to a newspaper in which he asserted that the pacifism professed by Asoka was a tactic to gain respectability.

Sinha claimed that his research had led to the conclusion that the Magadha ruler was physically unattractive and of loathsome character and, in having achieved power after a fratricide he was no different from Mughal Emperor Aurangzeb who similarly maintained a pious public persona.

The playwright’s observations have convulsed the politically powerful OBCs in Bihar who revere Asoka’s grandfather Chandragupta Maurya – a shepherd’s child who founded the mighty Maurya dynasty.

Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar’s JD(U), a BJP ally, has demanded that the latter take action against Sinha and his Sahitya Akademi Award be withdrawn.

Former CM Jitan Ram Manjhi, a junior constituent of the NDA has urged the President to strip the dramatist of the Padma Shri conferred on him a year ago.

The BJP, which is rattled by three OBC ministers jumping ship in as many days in adjoining poll-bound Uttar Pradesh, seems to have made an attempt at damage control.

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