Exhausting the political weapons against Bihar Chief Minister and senior JDU leader Nitish Kumar, his detractors are now planning to launch a personal attack against him, with an aim to checkmate his march to power.
Sources aware of the development confided that these elements, both within and outside the ruling party, are planning to target him by claiming he named a train Archana Express, in the name of Archana Singh, said to be the sister of Bihar Road Construction Minister Rajiv Ranjan Singh, alias Lallan Singh. This is a charge vehemently denied by Nitish aides. Singh happens to be a close associate of the Chief Minister.
These sources pointed to some tweets being circulated on the Internet to prove the designs of Nitish’s detractors. “They are planning to make it an issue on the eve of the Assembly elections, which are likely to be announced soon. The detractors are also using other social networking sites to paint Nitish in a poor light, keeping the Archana Express at the centre of the issue,” added sources.
The train in question was started on 1 January 2003, to run twice a week between Rajendra Nagar Terminal (Patna) and Jammu Tawi, when Nitish Kumar was the Railway Minister in the Atal Behari Vajpayee government. Detractors have alleged that Nitish named the train after Lallan’s sister, but have so far not been able to produce any evidence and the story is regarded as false by Nitish backers.
“We are aware that such false propaganda is being carried out by the Opposition and many of his detractors within the party. But they should understand that Nitishji is a man of impeccable character and the people of Bihar are not going to buy this allegation. ‘Archana’ in Hindi means ‘offering’ and is used in a spiritual and religious context. It has a very sacred meaning. What is wrong if a train is named as Archana Express since it goes to Jammu Tawi, where a large number of devotees go for darshan at Vaishno Devi temple?” asked a JDU source.
Nitish Kumar’s aides believe that the propaganda war being carried out by his detractors is nothing but an act of desperation. “Most of the pre-election surveys conducted in Bihar clearly show that Nitish Kumar has an edge. His detractors have attacked him enough, politically, but failed so far. He still continues to be the most respected leader of Bihar, who has acceptance pan state. And that’s why they are now resorting to personal attacks through social media. It is pure coincidence that Lallan Singh’s sister’s name is Archana. Nobody can question Nitish Kumar on this matter,” said an associate.
A JDU leader said personal attacks, usually come when “political ammunition” gets exhausted. “This is the easiest way to target any politician. He is not the first leader. Many senior leaders of the country have faced such a situation. Lalu Prasad Yadav’s name was also linked to former Union minister Kanti Singh, but time proved that all such allegations were absurd. In this case, we are pretty sure that this character assassination campaign will fall flat,” he said.
Detractors, on the other hand, allege that it was because of the relationship that Lallan Singh parted ways with Nitish Kumar and quit the state party president’s post in 2009. But he again reunited with Nitish Kumar in 2013. Rabri Devi, while campaigning for the Lok Sabha elections in Saran in 2009, had said, “Who is Lallan Singh? He is Nitish Kumar’s brother-in-law. Everyone knows this. I say this openly. This is why Nitish Kumar holds Lallan Singh’s hand all the time whether they are in a meeting or a rally.”
This remark led to considerable tension. Following this, Singh filed a defamation case against the former CM. Lallan Singh withdrew the case only this year after JDU and RJD joined hands for contesting the elections. Both filed a mutual compromise petition in March this year. However political observers expect others to launch similar diatribes against the popular Chief Minister.