RJD, BJP workers clash in Patna, day after IT raids on Lalu Yadav's `benami properties`
The BJP yesterday welcomed the IT raids and targeted Janata Dal-United leader Nitish Kumar, saying the Centre initiated the action after he had demanded it.
Patna: The workers of Rashtriya Janata Dal and Bharatiya Janata Party clashed outside BJP office in Patna on Wednesday, a day after the Income Tax Department conducted raids at 22 places in and around Delhi in connection with an alleged "benami" property case involving RJD chief Lalu Prasad Yadav and his family.
RJD workers were protesting against senior Bihar BJP leader Sushil Kumar Modi when the clashes occurred in front of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) state headquarters office on the busy Birchand Patel Marg near the IT square in the heart of Patna.
"RJD and BJP workers clashed violently by attacking each other with bamboo sticks and pelted stones at each other in which some of them were injured. They also shouted slogans with abusive language against top leaders of the rival party," a police official said.
"The two sides clashed for nearly half an hour in the presence of police officials, who hardly intervened initially and did not use force to control the situation. The police became active only after the situation went out of control," an eyewitness, who owns a pavement tea shop, said.
After police dispersed the Rashtriya Janata Dal workers, hundreds of angry BJP workers staged a protest by blocking the Birchand Patel Marg, demanding action against RJD workers.
The protest started when a group of Chatra (student) RJD workers, holding an "Akrosh march" to protest against the IT department raids on 22 locations involving Lalu Prasad, reached near the BJP office. They shouted slogans against the BJP and their leaders. In response, some BJP workers came out of their office and shouted counter slogans.
The RJD workers expressed their anger against senior BJP leader and former deputy chief minister Sushil Kumar Modi, who has addressed several press conferences in the past one month accusing Lalu and his family of "benami" property and corruption.
Later, a group of BJP workers tried to attack the RJD office, located not far away from the BJP office, but police dispersed them.
RJD workers shouted slogans like 'BJP ki goondagardi nahi chaalegi, Sampardayik aur Fascistwadi BJP hai hai'.
But when BJP workers started shouting slogans like "Lalu Chor hai" "Charaa Chor hai", "Lalu ko jail bhejo", the RJD workers got angry. Some RJD workers pelted stones, as alleged by BJP workers, after which both sides indulged in a free-for-all with bamboo sticks, bricks and stones.
Hundreds of armed police officials were deployed to control the situation, a senior police official said.
Reacting to the violence, Sushil Modi said that RJD goons had attacked the BJP office.
"It clearly shows the desperation of the RJD and its top leaders Lalu and his two sons Tejashwi Yadav and Tej Pratap Yadav, both ministers in the Bihar government led by Nitish Kumar," he said.
However, the RJD leaders claimed that a "silent" march of RJD workers was attacked by the BJP near its office.
Notably, Sushil Modi had repeatedly alleged benami property against Lalu Prasad and his family members.
The Bharatiya Janata Party yesterday welcomed the IT raids and targeted Janata Dal-United leader Nitish Kumar, saying the Centre initiated the action after he had demanded it.
The IT raids come a day after Nitish Kumar said that if there was documentary proof or solid evidence against the Rashtriya Janata Dal chief and his family, then the central government should take legal action.
Following the IT raids, Sushil Kumar Modi told the media in Patna that his stand was "vindicated".
He said he has put all the evidence related to benami property of Lalu Prasad, his elder daughter and two sons in the public domain.
Last week, he said that "no one knows whether Lalu Prasad would be in jail or outside before the August 27 rally of RJD".
Earlier, Modi had demanded a probe by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) into the connections between Lalu Prasad and his family with jailed businessmen brothers Surendra Jain and Virendra Jain.
Modi said Lalu Prasad's eldest daughter, Misa Bharti, should reveal the source of funds with which she bought a farmhouse in Bijwasan area in New Delhi, alleging that the money actually belonged to Lalu, and was part of the Rs 1,000 crore fodder scam.
Reacting strongly to the IT raids, RJD chief Lalu Prasad put up a brave front, saying he was "not scared at all" and will continue to "fight against the fascist forces."
"BJP mein himmat nahi hai ki Lalu ki awaz ko daba sake... Lalu ki awaz dabayenge to desh bhar me karoron Lalu khare ho jayenge... Main gidarbhabhki se nahi darne wala hoon (BJP does not have the courage to stifle my voice ... If it tries to silence one Lalu, crores of Lalu will stand up in the country. I am not scared of empty threats)," he tweeted.
(With Agency inputs)