Manoj Chaurasia in Patna
Politics, as we know, is normally about defeating the rivals in the electoral arena but Bihar politicians are now challenging their rivals in the wrestling arena. They say only a complete wrestling can prove who one is really youthful, agile and energetic, and thus, fit to rule the state.
It all began after someone from chief minister Nitish Kumar’s JD-U called RJD chief Lalu Prasad as an “old” man too weak to run the state, reacting to Prasad's appeal to the masses to throw out the ruling Nitish Kumar government in course of his ongoing “Parivartan Yatra” that he is undertaking across the state to expose failures of the ruling regime.
“People in the JD-U are rejecting me as an old man unable to rule Bihar. What are the parameters of deciding about one’s age? I challenge them to gird up loin and join me at the wresting arena to be built in Gandhi Maidan. That will decide who one is young and old”, Prasad challenged his rivals at a public function in Patna on Saturday.
Apparently stung by the open challenge to prove their agility in public, at least three Cabinet ministers ~ food and civil Supplies minister Shyam Rajak, rural works minister Bhim Singh and revenue and land reforms minister Ramai Ram have offered to join fight with the RJD chief.
Incidentally, trio who are now ministers in the NDA government were once close lieutenants of Prasad and two of them even served as ministers in the 15-year-long RJD government. Their switched loyalty overnight shortly after NDA came to power.
“The RJD Lalu Prasad is an old man now but now that he has given open challenge us, I accept it humbly. Only, he should inform me about the date when the wrestling will take place”, remarked food and civil supplies minister Rajak at a press conference. The RJD chief soon reacted by saying Rajak should at first face his junior colleague Ramkripal Yadav, RJD spokesman, before joining me in the wrestling arena.
Another minister, Singh said it was not morally fair to take him on in the wrestling since he was his “political guru” yet he would ill fight like a mythological Bhim in the Mahabharata. “At first, I will touch the feet of my guru before joining the fight”, said Singh. Another minister, Ram said the RJD chief could not face him in the battle.
The fight for grabbing political space in Bihar has turned bitter in Bihar in recent months as the political rivals have got indulged in hitting below the belt, making baseless allegations against one another.
While the ruling regime has gone on making caricature of the RJD chief Prasad in the media, the latter has accused the chief minister of masterminding the killing of Barmeshwar Singh alias Mukhiyaji, the self-styled chief of Ranvir Sena~ a private militia of upper caste landlords. “Barmeshwar Mukhiya has been killed at the behest of Nitish Kumar”, the RJD chief alleged during his Parivartan Yatra in Darbhanga yesterday. The chief minister is still to react over the matter.