The ruling JD(U) today questioned the RJD’s calling for a state-wide “bandh” on December 21 in the midst of the closing ceremony of 350th birth anniversary of Guru Gobind Singh in the state capital. The Rashtriya Janata Dal has given a call for state-wide bandh on December 21 to protest against the sand mining policy of the Nitish Kumar government. “Nitish Kumar has deferred his Vikas Samiksha Yatra keeping in mind the Shukrana Samaroh, closing ceremony of 350th birth anniversary of Guru Gobind Singh, which is being organised between December 22 to 25 while on the other hand, RJD has given a call for bandh to protest sand mining,” Bihar JD(U) chief spokesman Sanjay Kumar Singh told reporters here. Kumar’s yatra would begin after the closing ceremony. Kumar has deferred his yatra in order to receive and welcome Sikh pilgrims from across the globe while RJD is organising bandh which the Congress has also supported, Singh said while maintaining that the opposition has the right to call a bandh but it exposes RJD’s so-called commitment for secularism. The bandh is not intended towards Bihar government alone but it is also a “bandh against Sikh community”, said Singh who was accompanied by another party spokesman Neeraj Kumar at the press meet. The Nitish Kumar government had organised ‘Prakash Parv’, on a grand scale in the first week of January this year to mark the 350th birth anniversary of the 10th Sikh guru, he said adding that the event was attended by Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Patna Sahib, the birthplace of Guru Gobind Singh, is considered one of the holiest places by Sikhs around the world, besides being a major tourism attraction for people from all communities.
The JD(U) spokesman wondered as why Lalu Prasad has called bandh on December 21 when people will be arriving in the state capital from across the country and globe. “People, who have reserved train and plane tickets, have called me on my phones asking about RJD’s bandh and possible problems they may face as people still remember RJD’s 15 years of Jungle Raj…I would request Lalu Prasad not to defame Bihar and create problems for the pilgrims,” he said. Asked whether JD(U) wanted RJD to defer the December 21 bandh, Singh said that “It is upto them (RJD). We are just showing them the mirror and its so-called commitment for secularism.” Stating that Congress party has also extended its support to RJD’s bandh, party spokesman Neeraj Kumar wanted to know Congress’ stand on the issue and asked the party to clear its position as whether it was with RJD on bandh which may create difficulties and problems for Sikh pilgrims.
RJD spokesman Shakti Singh Yadav dismissed JD(U)’s allegations that Sikh pilgrims may face problems due to bandh as the party has exempted the emergency services including ambulances, train and flight services. Sikh pilgrims visiting Bihar would not face any problem due to RJD’s bandh as party workers would help them in reaching their destination. Bihar Congress president Kaukab Qadri could not be contacted despite several efforts as his cell phone was switched off.