New Delhi: The BJP has launched a campaign in Bihar seeking “justice for actor Sushant Singh Rajput”, with the party planning to paste posters across the state declaring, “Na bhoole hain, na bhulne denge (we have neither forgotten, nor will we let anyone forget)”, along with a photograph of the late actor.
The BJP, however, insists all this has nothing to do with the assembly elections slated to be held in the state later this year.
The BJP’s cultural cell has so far printed about 30,000 posters and stickers, and 30,000 masks, all with the message, “Na bhoole hain…”, and a photo of Rajput.
The posters are to be pasted on rickshaws (a popular election campaign strategy in Bihar) and on the doors of houses. The party has also been demanding that the proposed Rajgir film city in Nalanda district be named after the actor. It had earlier demanded that the Rajiv Nagar Chowk in Patna be renamed the Sushant Singh Chowk — Chief Minister Nitish Kumar has forwarded the demand to Roads Minister Nand Kishore Yadav, who is from the BJP.
The party claimed there is “nothing political” about its campaign.
“There is no question of politics over Sushant Singh Rajput. He was the son of Bihar and the truth should come out. His family should get justice. What is wrong in it?” Bihar BJP president Sanjay Jaiswal told ThePrint.
“We have been campaigning for Sushant since the 16 of June (two days after his death). There is nothing political about it,” said Varun Singh, the BJP’s cultural cell convenor.
“He was the son of Bihar and deserves justice. I was the first to write to Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Home Minister Amit Shah for a fair inquiry. We are conducting various programmes to ensure justice for Sushant Singh Rajput.”
Sources, however, said the BJP has appointed former Maharashtra chief minister Devendra Fadnavis as the Bihar election in-charge to keep the issue alive in two states. The party is hoping to put the Maha Vikas Aghadi government on the backfoot in Maharashtra, while raising the emotional pitch over Rajput’s death in Bihar.
The concerted BJP campaign also comes at a time investigating agencies have stepped up action against Rajput’s girlfriend Rhea Chakraborty. The actress was summoned by the Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB) Sunday, while her brother Showik Chakraborty has been arrested in connection with the drugs probe linked to Rajput’s death.
Sushant Singh and Rajput politics
In the caste-ridden politics of Bihar, the BJP’s efforts are being seen as an attempt by the party to woo the state’s Rajput community.
And it’s not just the BJP alone. Parties such as Lalu Prasad Yadav’s Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) and Ram Vilas Paswan’s Lok Janshakti Party, whose support base is largely the backward caste, have also championed the actor’s cause keeping the Rajput vote in mind.
“We were the first to demand a CBI inquiry into the Sushant Singh case,” said J.P. Yadav, former minister and a Lalu Prasad confidant. “Tejashwi (Yadav) has visited the family. This has nothing to do with politics. Our state president Jagdanand Singh is a seasoned Rajput leader. This is a question of justice for the death of one of Bihar’s sons.”
Although the Rajputs constitute only 4 per cent of Bihar’s population, they are dominant upper castes who can influence others to vote for a party. They are largely associated with the BJP and the JD(U).
The Rajputs are a force in around 40 of the 243 assembly constituencies and enjoy decent political clout. In the 2015 assembly elections, for instance, the BJP fielded 30 Rajputs while the then Mahagathbandhan fielded 12 from the community. In all, there are 19 Rajput legislators in the state, and among them is Rajput’s cousin, Neeraj Singh of the BJP.
The case, a Rajput leader from the BJP said, has given the community’s leaders a chance to re-assert their influence in Bihar, which has been waning since the Mandal era and the rise of the state’s once suppressed castes. The current Bihar assembly has 61 Yadav MLAs, 38 Dalit and 24 Muslim legislators.
“The case has created an opportunity for Rajput leaders to re-assert their influence,” the BJP leader said. “Maybe this is one of reasons why the Sushant Singh suicide case has become a major issue in the state. Politics is not only about facts and figures but also about emotion, which every political party is doing its best to arouse in this case.”
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