Nitish attacks Shah: Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar made a subtle jab and Union Home Minister Amit Shah ahead of his proposed visit to the state in April. According to reports, Shah is expected to visit Bihar to attend a BJP function for the celebration of Mauryan emperor Asoka's 2328th birth anniversary. Asoka is said to have ruled most part of the Indian subcontinent between 268 BCE and 232 BCE.
Addressing a function organised in Patna on the occasion of the ‘jayanti’ of the legendary Maurya emperor, Bihar Chief Minister Kumar urged the people to be vigilant against attempts made by the saffron party to "exploit" the historical figure for "political mileage."
Nitish takes a dig at BJP
"There are people who are trying to foment tension in society for political gains. Beware of them. In a few days, someone from Delhi will come and try to mislead you in the name of Samrat Asoka," Kumar said Wednesday in an oblique reference to Shah's scheduled visit on April 2 to Sasaram.
The CM also claimed, "These people played no role in the struggle for Independence. By invoking the name of Asoka, they will try to wean away (‘kabza karna chahte hain’) some castes. I have never tried to divide people in the name of caste."
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Caste-based politics in Bihar
Asoka was the grandson of Maurya dynasty founder Chandragupta, who was born in a family of poor shepherds. Those belonging to the Kushwaha caste, the second most populous after Yadavs in Bihar, claim that they are direct descendants of the Mauryas. The caste group is being aggressively wooed by the BJP in Bihar where it is struggling to hold its own after the JD(U)'s exit from the NDA, according to political analysts.
Pointing towards the Narendra Modi-led government at the Centre, Kumar said, "I have worked with the late Atal Bihari Vajpayee and remember his contributions even now. Not so far those who are currently at the helm. They are busy blowing their own trumpet."
The Bihar Chief Minister also emphasised that it was his initiative that led to Asoka's birth anniversary celebrations and recalled with pride the emperor’s contributions towards the spread of Buddhism, while maintaining tolerance for diverse schools of thought.
(With PTI inputs)