Patna: Accusing BJP of trying to appropriate the legacy of Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel by organising functions sponsored by the central government on the occasion of his birth anniversary, ruling JD(U) today said it should instead "remember Muzaffarnagar and Trilokpuri riots".
In messages posted on social media, JD(U) has blamed BJP for trying to kindle communal tension in Bihar in the name of events like 'Anti-Terrorism Day' and asked the people to be cautious about 'Rashtriya Ekta Diwas', which is being celebrated today on the occasion of the 139th birth anniversary of Patel, the country's first home minister.
Communal violence had broken out in Uttar Pradesh's Muzzafarnagar in September last year while group clashes in Delhi's Trilokpuri area took place during Diwali this year.
"BJP repeated Muzaffarnagar riots in Trilokpuri... It is spreading fear of riots in many cities during this festive season. Be cautions as BJP is celebrating Rashtriya Ekta Diwas," JD(U) alleges in its messages.
Reacting sharply, BJP state president Mangal Pandey lambasted the ruling party and its senior leader, Nitish Kumar.
"This is an insult to Patel by JD(U) and Kumar. Instead of celebrating his birth anniversary, they are opposing events organised on the occasion. They have forgotten the great leader's contribution towards national integration," Pandey said.
He accused the ruling JD(U) of not organising the 'Run for Unity' or observing Rashtriya Ekta Diwas on the occasion of Patel's anniversary despite directives in this regard by the central government.
"And what riots they are talking about? JD(U) should know better about them as its leader Nitish Kumar was campaigning with Mulayam Singh Yadav of Samajwadi Party (for the UP assembly elections) during whose tenure over two dozen riots have happened in UP. This also shows the double character of Nitish Kumar," said Pandey.
He further alleged that the central government directive for all states to celebrate Patel's anniversary were not followed in Bihar upon orders from Kumar himself.