Rumblings within BJP and NDA over the Bihar debacle grew louder with some leaders blaming the RSS chief’s quota review remarks and controversial statements on Dadri lynching and Haryana Dalit killings for the rout.
A couple of leaders also sought to attack party MP Shatrughan Sinha saying his statements helped create an atmosphere against the BJP.
BJP MP Hukumdev Narayan Yadav said RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat’s suggestion for a review of reservation was “ill- timed” and “agitated” backward castes and Dalits. “The party should analyse why backward castes voted solidly for the grand alliance. What Bhagwat ji said agitated voters from backward castes and Dalits,” he told PTI. He said that though Prime Minister Narendra Modi and BJP chief Amit Shah clarified the issue but it did not work as “people have generally come to believe that the government follows whatever the RSS says. Bhagwat ji did not say bring an end to reservation. He only said review it. But they asked why review?”
He also underlined that “not everybody who voted for the Modi government agrees with the views of RSS or is its supporter. The party and government at the Centre should be sensitive to their sentiments too.” Former chief minister Jitan Ram Manjhi, whose party HAM (S) is an NDA ally, also said that one of the reasons for the alliance’s is defeat is Bhagwat’s remarks. “One reason is also that such a statement should not have come at this hour. Lalu ji deftly twisted the remarks and placed the distorted version before the communities concerned. People of Bihar believed in what Lalu said.
“We did clarify it later but people did not believe our clarification and the beneficiaries of reservation including OBCs and EBCs deserted us,” Manjhi said. LJP Secretary General Abdul Khaliq said that Bhagwat’s remarks consolidated Yadavs behind RJD chief Lalu Prasad while the “statements of leaders justifying Dadri killings” consolidated Muslims, that scripted the victory of the grand alliance. “More than the lynching incident, which was very unfortunate one, it is the remarks of some leaders after it justifying the incident that did us in. Muslims polarised out of fear and decisively voted for the grand alliance, damaging even LJP in its stronghold where it used to get Muslim votes,” he said.
He also cited Union Minister V K Singh’s ‘dog’ remark while he was attempting to delink the central government from the murder of two Dalit children in Haryana. “I wonder why those who have nothing to do with Bihar polls made such remarks in the middle of the polls. These remarks were twisted and used to their benefit by the Opposition,” he said. “For everything… like if somebody throws a stone at a dog, then the central government is responsible… it is not like that),” Singh had said.
Senior BJP leader and Union minister Uma Bharti said the issue of beef was “tossed up” in the elections and along with that the “subject of intolerance was spread in a big way”. “And at that time too, some leaders also indulged in making statements (bayanbaazi). I feel that it was a complete planned and manufactured packaging. “I believe that, to influence the Bihar elections, Shatrughan Sinha made statements at that time and those statements became a part of the packaging,” she said.