Patna, Jul 8: Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar on Monday rejected Opposition charge that his government had failed to act on alerts on possible terror strike at Bodh Gaya temple and said it would make a formal request to NIA to probe the serial blasts.
The state government would also propose to the Centre to ask CISF to take over the security of the historic Mahabodhi shrine, he told reporters emerging from the ‘Janata Ke Darbar me Mukhya Mantri' programme.
Mr. Kumar trashed former ally BJP's claim that the state government had become ‘weak' after it left the coalition and so could not avert the Bodh Gaya blasts, while alleging that the saffron party had joined hands with RJD in “desperation” for power. “The government is not weak on any account,” the CM said.
“Both (BJP and RJD) have joined hands. The unity of BJP and RJD is visible. Our one step (parting ways from BJP) has exposed everybody. They can go to any extent in their desperation for power. The blasts in Mahabodhi temple is an occasion when there should not have been any divide. Everybody should face this challenge together.
“But what is happening? People are raising slogans when I am going to the temple? Who are these people? This is frustration borne out of losing power,” Mr. Kumar told reporters here.
The National Investigating Agency (NIA) team had visited the temple, declared a world heritage site by UNESCO in 2002, after the explosions, the CM said.
Asked about allegations on the government's “failure” to prevent the blasts despite intelligence alerts at the temple frequented by devotees from across the world, Mr. Kumar said the state acted to the best of its capacity on whatever information was provided to it.
Principal Secretary, Home, Amir Subhani said a formal proposal for CISF security would be sent to the Centre today itself.
State Police chief Abhyanand, who was present at the press conference along with Principal Secretary Home Amir Subhani, said evidence of one more explosion has come into light taking the total number of blasts to 10.
Three live bombs were defused in different places, he added.
Mr. Kumar said Bihar government would bear the expense of CISF for providing security to Bodh Gaya temple.
He said till CISF takes over security, the state government would provide security even inside the premises of the temple.
The decision was taken after consultation with Bodh Gaya Temple Management Committee (BTMC).
So far, the security outside the temple was the responsibility of the state police, while that from the main gate to inside the temple was in the hands of private guards recruited by BTMC.
He did not reply to a volley of questions on the explosives used, the motive and those behind it and said those were subjects of police investigation.
Asked for time frame for the probe, he said, “We should give some time.”
To questions on RJD and BJP attacking him, Mr. Kumar sarcastically said the two are acting together against him. He said BJP is observing Gaya bandh today and RJD is observing another in the entire Magadh region that includes Gaya.
Criticising the opposition for politicising a terror incident, Mr. Kumar said BJP and RJD were ‘surreptitiously' talking to each other to reach a seat-sharing arrangement for the 2014 polls.
“In such incidents political parties should stand togther and we should desist from giving expert comments which is actually the job of professional policemen and security agencies,” he said in a veiled comment on RJD President Lalu Prasad and BJP leaders including former Deputy Chief Minister
Sushil Kumar Modi.
“This (the action of political parties) is nothing but a desperation to win power anyhow,” he said.
Kumar said he believed in the teaching of Rammanohar Lohia that people in power should speak less and work more.
“I am a grassroot politician, not an air-bound leader, and do not have expertise in issuing lofty political
Asked about BJP leaders accusing him of betraying them, he said it was the case of the pot calling the kettle black and squarely blamed that party for the break-up.
On the political development in Jharkhand where JMM, Congress, RJD and others are making efforts to form a government, Kumar said it was ‘unethical.”
The best political solution in Jharkhand is a fresh election, Kumar, whose JD(U) has refused support to the JMM, Congress, RJD combine, said.
On the instruction of the CM, DGP Abhyanand and Principal Secretary Home Amir Subhani stayed back to answer questions by the media related to technicalities of the explosions.
The DGP, asked by Kumar to answer media queries, said as per the latest information there were total 10 blasts at Bodh Gaya, while 3 live bombs were defused.
Abhyanand said the 10th bomb which exploded was found under a transformer in Baiju Bigha village, about 1.5 km from the temple.