Ranchi: Janardhan Paswan, an accused in a murder case, was Monday conferred the award of best legislator of Jharkhand even as his selection shocked many assembly members. Paswan, meanwhile, accused the legislators of a caste bias.
Paswan is a Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) legislator from Chatra. He was conferred the award in a ceremony in the state assembly.
Every year on its establishment day Nov 22, the Jharkhand assembly confers the award on a selected member. This year the assembly committee chose Paswan for the honour, never mind that he is an accused in the murder of a government official, Mohammad Ali, not very long ago.
Ali was a child development project officer of Chatra district and was killed in January this year.
The ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) as well as opposition parties were stunned with Paswan`s selection.
"It is sad that a murder accused will be conferred the best legislator award. I am unable to understand how he was selected despite the fact that he does not fulfil the parameters of being the best legislator," Satyanand Bhokta, former minister and a BJP leader, told reporters.
Meanwhile, Paswan said he was being targetted because of a caste prejudice.
"I am a Dalit and there are many who do not want to see me rise. I have been implicated in false cases to keep me in jail," he said.
C.P. Singh, the speaker and senior BJP leader, headed the assembly committee that selected Paswan for the honour.
Singh defended the selection saying: "It is not the duty of the assembly committee to find out records from police stations."
He also said that opposition members too were part of the committee.