BJP’s Bihar vice-president and prominent Bhojpur leader Visheshwar Ojha, 53, was shot dead at 6.30 pm Friday at Sonbarsha village in Ara. Ojha had just entered his car after meeting a relative at a marketplace when the assailants,
who had their faces covered, fired at him.
Police said “more than a dozen bullets from sophisticated weapons” were fired at Ojha. He died on his way to the hospital.
Ojha had unsuccessfully contested the 2015 Bihar assembly polls against RJD nominee and former MP Shivanand Tiwari’s son Rahul Tiwari from Shahpur constituency.
Calling it a “political killing”, the BJP threatened to launch statewide protests if Ojha’s killers were not arrested within 72 hours. LJP chief Ram Vilas Paswan claimed “jungle raj had returned to Bihar”, while former BJP opposition leader in the assembly Nand Kishore Yadav said “political killings had increased under the Grand Alliance government”.
Incidentally, Chief Minister Nitish Kumar wrapped up a two-day meeting to review law and order in the state on Friday.
Bihar additional director general of police (headquarters) Sunil Kumar said, “Though we are looking at all possible angles, it might be a case of personal rivalry.” Police sources said Ojha was locked in a land dispute with a “local, influential” person.
Sources also said Ojha had a known rivalry with one Shivajit Mishra, who reportedly campaigned for the RJD. Those who knew him said Ojha used to have an image of a “muscleman” and had faced more than a dozen criminal cases. But they added that this was more than a decade ago, and he had been acquitted in most cases. He now aspired to become a legislator and was given a BJP ticket in place of siting MLA Munni Devi.
“Now can (RJD chief) Lalu Prasad and Nitish Kumar tell us if jungle raj has returned to Bihar? Have we not come to the Bihar of 1990?” Paswan said.
BJP state president Mangal Pandey said, “Nitish should stop the drama of crime review through video conferencing. Nothing has changed on the ground. We are giving a 72-hour ultimatum to the government: arrest the culprits or face a statewide movement.” HAM(S) spokesperson Danish Rizwan alleged that the “government has been targeting political rivals”.
Earlier in the day, another BJP leader identified as Kedar Singh was killed in Chhapra district. Police have arrested two people in connection with the case. Earlier this month, LJP leader Brijnathi Singh was shot dead by unidentified gunmen in Patna.