BJP’s Bihar ally HAM leader Jitan Ram Manjhi on Monday identified the beef controversy and RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat’s remarks on reservation as the “turning point” in the Bihar Assembly elections. He also blamed BJP chief Amit Shah’s firecrackers-in-Pakistan remark.
He said the defeat was not the result of any single comment but a number of statements that both RJD chief Lalu Prasad and JD (U) leader Nitish Kumar “twisted” and presented before the people of the state.
“There is no one reason for the loss. We have done some analysis and there are various reasons. But one reason is that some statements came which should not have come at that time. Such statements were deftly twisted by Lalu ji and presented to people”, he told the Press in Patna.
Though we clarified later, people did not believe us and the beneficiaries of reservation including OBCs and EBCs deserted us,” he added.
On Bhagwat’s statement on reservation, he said, “I feel it was ill-timed…It was said untimely and was made an issue by the grand alliance leaders.”
He said Mr Shah’s statement that firecrackers would be burst in Pakistan if the BJP lost the Bihar assembly polls also played a major role in the NDA’s defeat. “The statement only helped the Grand Alliance.”
“The statement on crackers in Pakistan also came. Due to this, they teased NDA and people went against us,” he said.
The Mahadalit leader, who is the only candidate of his party to have won the election in which NDA suffered a humiliating defeat, said though the RSS chief had not sought scrapping of reservation but only an assessment of it, Lalu and Nitish “twisted” his statement which damaged the alliance.
“Laluji and Nitishji are specialists in twisting issues. They have excelled in cashing in on these statements,” he said, adding what Bhagwat said was not a wrong thing as an assessment of reservation can be done in the right direction too.
Manjhi also referred to controversial statements by some leaders on beef and questioned the need for making such remarks, especially when cow slaughter was already banned in the state. “What was the reason to raise it, beef is already banned,” he said.
“Despite our campaign and Prime Minister’s rallies, some statements that came had an impact on the polls,” he added.