Bihar Opposition baying for blood after Lalu-Shahabuddin audio tape row erupts, BJP says it's worst 'criminal-political nexus'
Lalu was also heard taking instructions from Shahabuddin over riots.
Patna: A major political controversy broke out on Saturday after a national television channel released an audio tape of an alleged conversation between RJD chief Lalu Prasad Yadav and jailed don-turned-politician Mohammad Shahabuddin, wherein the former was heard taking instructions from the later.
The explosive revelations has triggered a political slugfest, with the Opposition baying for blood and demanding Chief Minister Nitish Kumar to take strong action against his coalition partner Lalu Yadav.
Meanwhile, the ruling grand alliance, comprising the Janata Dal-United (JD-U), RJD and the Congress, sought to distance itself from the controversy and avoid making any statements.
Reacting to the controversy, senior Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader and Union Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad described it as the worst form of "criminal-political nexus" in the country.
"Shahabuddin represents the worst form of criminal-political nexus in the country," Prasad told reporters in New Delhi.
"A convicted notorious criminal like Shahabuddin is running the administration and Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) chief Lalu Prasad is assisting him in that," IANS quoted the BJP leader as saying.
Senior BJP leader and former Bihar deputy chief minister Sushil Modi tweeted: "Republic (TV channel)...has exposed how Lalu is taking instructions from dreaded criminal Shahabuddin. Will Nitish act?"
"Shahabuddin is still the member of RJD National Executive. Where is the Q (question) of suspending or expelling Shahabuddin?" he wrote in the next tweet.
He also alleged that two state ministers, Abdul Ghafoor and Abdul Bari Siddiqui, met Shahabuddin and his parents respectively, but the state government has been silent over it. He urged the Centre to intervene.
IANS also quoted former chief minister and Hindustani Awami Morcha (HAM) chief Jitan Ram Manjhi as saying that "The audio clip has made it very clear that the state government is running under the shadow of criminals. The Centre must intervene in the matter."
Manjhi has reportedly demanded the resignation of Nitish Kumar.
Meanwhile, senior JD-U leader and former state minister Shyam Rajak said that he would comment on the audio tape content only after verifying its genuineness. "It won't be prudent for me to make any comment now."
A new English news channel, Republic TV on Saturday morning aired an audio clip of Shahabuddin and the RJD chief's alleged conversation, wherein the don-turned-politician was heard saying that "your SP (Superintendent of Police) is of no use".
Lalu was also heard taking instructions from Shahabuddin over riots. The police force should not have been deployed in Siwan on Ram Navami day, Shahabuddin said.
Shahabuddin is also a former RJD MP from Siwan, his hometown, and former legislator from Siwan assembly constituency.