Sushant Singh Rajput
Sushant Singh Rajput

The Supreme Court had on Wednesday commented on the 14-day quarantine of the Patna Superintendent of Police by the Bombay Municipal Corporation, stating that it had sent a wrong message to Bihar. The statement was lauded by the JD(U) and the party demanded an official apology from the Congress, Shiv Sena and NCP to the people of Bihar.

Making it case of Bihar versus Maharashtra, Sanjay Kumar Singh, the principal spokesperson of the JD(U) said that the Maharashtra government had insulted the people of the other state by humiliating its IPS officer. He said Congress leaders Randeep Singh and Surjewala Shakti Singh Gohil, NCP leader Nawab Malik and Shiv Sena leader Sanjay Raut, through their statements, had insulted Bihar.

Sushant was a brilliant film star from Bihar, Sanjay Singh said. He said that Raut had made fun of Chief Minister Nitish Kumar’s recommendation of a CBI probe into the actor’s death. Raut had reportedly said that it was aimed at attracting the votes of a section of the people during the Bihar assembly elections which is slated for October-November.

"Once the elections are over, Bihar will forget Sushant," Raut is reported to have said.

The JD(U) leader however said that Rajput would be remembered forever and that there was no politics involved in Nitish Kumar’s recommendation of a CBI probe. He said that the Chief Minister had honoured the sentiments of millions of fans.

The statements and responses coming from Mumbai and Patna seem to have made the case a political issue now. Sushant belonged to an influential family, both politically and financially. The Rajput caste which constitutes 5.2% of the state's population can be a decisive factor in making or breaking the prospects of candidates in at least 50 assembly constituencies. From Banka in the east to Buxar in the west, Rajputs influence the vote banks of other castes too. They have strong presence in all regions: Kosi, Magadh, Chapra or central Bihar region.

There are 7 among 40 members in Lok Sabha from the caste and 20 MLAs, mostly from the ruling JDU and BJP.

Some of the top Rajput leaders in the state include Raj Kumar Singh, Rajiv Pratap Rudy, Janardan Singh Sigriwal, Radha Mohan Singh, Sushil Kumar Singh from BJP, Veena Devi from LJP and JD(U)’s Kavita Singh. The state’s RJD faction is headed by Jagda Nand Singh who has considerable influence in Shahabad region. Sushant’s cousin Neeraj Kumar Bablu and his bhabhi, Nutan Singh are also legislators.

In Sushant’s case, these leaders had taken the initial lead in demanding justice for Sushant by seeking CBI probe. Even the opposition leaders such as Tejashwi Prasad Yadav, Jeetan Ram Manjhi and Upendra Kushwaha had voiced their demand for a CBI probe. They had also visited his family. Congress leaders in Bihar such as Premchandra Mishra too had demanded a CBI probe, even as his Maharashtra counterparts had claimed the state police was competent to investigate.

LJP president Chirag Paswan had recently demanded a CBI probe and claimed that he had spoken to the Chief Ministers of Bihar and Maharashtra. Now, in the wake of this morning’s announcement, leaders from all parties have come forth with statements to claim credit for the CBI probe being initiated. One of the statements claimed since MOS for Home, Nityanayand Rai, is an MP from Bihar, the State government's recommendation had been accepted immediately.

Along with the issue of harassed migrant workers and the ongoing COVID-19 crisis and floods, Sushant Singh Rajput is now all set to become an election issue in Bihar. There is likely to be anti-Maharashtra, anti-Congress, anti-NCP and anti-Shiv Sena campaigns during the elections. Protest demonstrations are also being held outside the offices of these parties.

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