Buxar (Patna): Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar's cavalcade was pelted with stones while he was on his way to a village as part of the state-wide 'Vikas Samiksha Yatra' but he was unhurt.
It was not immediately known who were behind the incident and why they did it. An official release in Patna quoted Kumar as having told a public meeting in Dumraon block of Buxar district that the incident would be thoroughly probed to ascertain the cause for it.
In an oblique reference to the opposition RJD, he said, "Those involved in politics of provoking and misleading the people have problems with our commitment to development. But we are not bothered about them." He said, "Some people feel disturbed over my commitment to progress of the state. They try to mislead and provoke others but people should not get perturbed over such minor happenings".
An official accompanying the chief minister told PTI over phone that some people hurled stones at the cavalcade but that did not hamper its movement. He said the convoy kept moving towards its destination where the chief minister launched 168 schemes involving an expenditure of Rs 272 crore before addressing a public meeting.
The chief minister said the purpose of his yatra was to assess ground realities and progress of development schemes so that basic amenities like roads, clean water and power reached every village and locality in the state. Kumar also spoke at length about prohibition imposed by his government and its drive against dowry and child marriage, besides measures for skill development to ensure youth got better job opportunities.
He told security personnel deployed at the venue of the public meeting not to worry about protests or if somebody wanted to raise slogans and show black flags. Kumar has been criss-crossing the state as part of "Vikas Samiksha Yatra" to take stock of implementation of developmental programmes at the grassroots level. According to some accounts, stones were thrown by residents of a Dalit locality in Nandan village who wanted Kumar to visit their homes to see for himself the lack of amenities there. These reports could not be verified independently.
The incident, meanwhile, set off a political slugfest between the ruling JD(U)-BJP combine and the RJD. State Health Minister and senior BJP leader Mangal Pandey, without naming the RJD, condemned the incident and said it was "a sponsored programme" in which those "having affinity with a particular political party" were involved. "Political parties which have been swept away in the storm of development are using Mahadalits as a pawn. This shows the sheer desperation of the opposition", Pandey said here in a statement.
JD(U) spokesman and MLC Sanjay Singh squarely blamed the RJD for the incident, saying it reflected the "character" of the opposition party. Meanwhile, Leader of the Opposition Tejashwi Yadav, son of RJD supremo Lalu Prasad, tweeted: "Kumar must introspect why he is facing the wrath of the common people in all parts of the state during his ongoing yatra".