Police in Araria have registered a case against Bihar BJP chief and Ujiyarpur MP Nityanand Rai for making a provocative speech during the byelection campaign for the Araria Lok Sabha seat. Rai had said at Narpatganj in Araria on March 9 that if RJD candidate Sarfaraz Alam won, Araria would become a “den of the ISI”.
Narpatganj police station in-charge Sunil Singh told The Indian Express: “We have lodged a case against Rai for making a provocative speech during a public meeting in Narpatganj on the concluding day of the election campaign on March 9. Besides booking him for violation of the election Code of Conduct, we booked him under IPC Section 153A, which pertains to promoting enmity between groups on grounds of religion”.
The case was lodged on a complaint by Narpatganj Circle Officer Nishant Kumar, who also submitted a video recording of the objectionable portion of Rai’s speech, Sunil Singh said.
Voting for the Araria Lok Sabha seat took place on Sunday, along with the voting for the Lok Sabha seats of Gorakhpur and Phulpur in Uttar Pradesh, and the Jehanabad and Bhabhua Assembly seats in Bihar. The Araria byelection was necessitated by the death of RJD MP Mohd Taslimuddin, father of the RJD candidate Sarfaraz Alam. BJP candidate Pradip Singh had won the seat in 2009, and finished second in 2014. Votes for all seats will be counted on March 14.
In the video, Nityanand Rai is heard saying, “…Agar Sarfaraz jeet gaya to ISI ka adda ban jaayega Araria, Pradip Singh jitenge to deshbhakton ka adda rahega Araria… Main unse bhi poochhna chahta hoon jo vote maang rahe hain Yaduvashiyon ka, ek baar bhi kisi Yaduvanshiyon ke neta ne nahin kaha ki gomata hi hatya hui hai, usko giraftar karo. Gau ke hatyaron ke saath dene walon ko ek bhi vote ka adhikar nahin hai (If RJD candidate Sarfaraz wins, Araria will become a den of the ISI. If Pradip Singh wins, it will remain a place of patriots… I want to ask those seeking the votes of Yadavs, not once has any Yadav leader asked for the arrest of the killers of cows. Those siding with the killers of cows do not deserve even one vote).”
Rai was not available for a comment.
BJP spokesperson Rajiv Ranjan said: “Though I do not have full details of the matter, I am sure our state president cannot make any irresponsible statement.” Asked if the BJP was trying to split Yadav votes through such statements, Ranjan said the BJP had appealed to all sections of society to vote for it.
RJD candidate Sarfaraz Alam said: “The people of Araria are mature enough to give a befitting reply to such remarks with their votes.”