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Rediff.com  » News » Mid-day meal tragedy: Nitish lashes out at BJP, RJD

Mid-day meal tragedy: Nitish lashes out at BJP, RJD

Last updated on: July 23, 2013 11:41 IST

Speaking for the first time after the school tragedy, the Bihar chief minister alleged that the BJP and RJD had a 'secret understanding' to derive political mileage from the incident.

A week after the midday meal tragedy in a Chhapra school, which killed 23 children, Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar, speaking for the first time after the horrific event, claimed there was a conspiracy behind the tragedy.

Nitish Kumar alleged that his former ally, the Bharatiya Janata Party, and the Rashtriya Janata Dal had a 'secret understanding' to derive political mileage from the incident.

'The Forensic Science Laboratory, which highlights the presence of pesticide in the midday meal, has confirmed our apprehensions about a conspiracy behind the tragedy,' Nitish Kumar was quoted by state Janata Dal-United spokesman Rajeev Ranjan as telling a meeting of JD-U MPs, MLAs and party officials.

The chief minister alleged that an understanding between the BJP and RJD was very much visible both after the Bodh Gaya blasts and the Chhapra midday meal tragedy as both parties had called bandhs on the same day after the two incidents.

'This confirms the secret understanding between them,' Nitish Kumar told party lawmakers, not explaining how he had arrived at such a conclusion.

Nitish Kumar said he apprehends more such incidents as part of the Opposition's efforts to destabilise his government.

The BJP, he alleged, was upset over losing power in Bihar after the break-up of its coalition with the JD-U and along with the RJD, the chief minister claimed, 'is busy fomenting instability against our government.'

'They are testing my patience, but I will not move away from the chosen path,' Nitish Kumar is reported to have said.

Last week, without naming the Lalu Prasad-led RJD, Bihar Education Minister P K Shahi had hinted at the RJD's role in the Chhapra tragedy, alleging that 'the husband of the school principal is an active member of the party (RJD).'

'The deaths were not due to food poisoning, but it's a clear case of mixing poison in food,' Shahi told reporters in Patna last week.

'From where did this organic phosphorous come in the food given to students as part of the midday meal scheme?' Shahi asked.

'Arjun Rai, the husband of the school headmistress, had supplied the food material for the midday meal. He is an active member of a party and cousin of local leader Dhruv Rai of Mashrakh, who is close to a prominent leader of a party (RJD)," Shahi alleged.

Arjun Rai, Shahi said, owns the grocery shop from where the material was taken by the school headmistress Meena Devi for the midday meal scheme.

Besides, the minister claimed, the headmistress was posted at the school under pressure 'from a particular party.' Block education officer Pramod Kumar, who is under suspension, had appointed Meena Devi as the headmistress.

'Some people seem to be in a hurry to capture power anyhow and in pursuing this ambition,' Shahi alleged, 'they are indulging in inhuman acts like the present tragedy.'