A clash broke out on the outskirts of Gopalganj town in Bihar on Thursday between BJP supporters and activists of the Congress’ student wing NSUI, a pro-upper castes outfit and some Left groups who waved black flags as the cavalcade of Union minister Smriti Irani passed by, police sources said. Irani was on her way to address a ‘Yuva Sankalp Sammelan’ in Gopalganj’s Minz stadium.
While NSUI and Left activists were holding separate demonstrations in protest against the policies of the Narendra Modi government, those owing allegiance to ‘Savarna Morcha’ were agitating against the SC/ST Act and reservations for Dalits, tribals and OBCs.
The clash resulted in disruption of movement of the cavalcade for some time before the clashing activists were dispersed, police said. No arrests have been made in connection with the incident, they said.
Irani, who was flanked by the state BJP leaders like health minister Mangal Pandey and BJYM state president and MLA Nitin Nabin, went on to attend the function at the Minz stadium, followed by another one at Gandhi Maidan in the adjoining district of Siwan.
In her addresses, Irani underscored the pro-poor measures taken by the Modi government in the four years and stressed the number of families covered under the Public Distribution Scheme had risen from a mere seven lakh during the previous UPA regime to 24 lakh at present.
She also cited the ‘Champions of the Earth’ award conferred on the Prime Minister to assert that under the leadership of Narendra Modi, the country was making economic progress and also gaining international standing. Taking potshots at the opposition, she said “the mudslingers should remember, lotus blooms in mud”.
In Siwan, she targeted jailed RJD leader Mohammad Shahabuddin, without mentioning him or his party by name, and said “the people here are now breathing easy after having lived in terror for many years”.
She also made a special mention of local resident Chanda Babu, whose two sons were killed over a decade ago after being drowned in acid allegedly in presence Shahabuddin, the mafia don-turned-politician. His third son, a witness of the acid attack, was shot dead later. Shahabuddin is currently serving life sentence in connection with the acid attack.