RJD MLA Samta Devi has been put under quarantine in Ranchi on her arrival at RIMS to meet party chief Lalu Prasad, triggering a war of words between rival parties in the poll-bound Bihar Thursday as action has been taken against a “dalit" woman but the jailed leader’s son Tej Pratap Yadav had a trouble-free meeting with his father. Samta Devi, RJD MLA from Barachatti (reserved) seat in Bihar’s Gaya district along with one of her associates and two security guards were quarantined by the Ranchi administration Wednesday after they visited state-run Rajendra Institute of Medical Sciences to meet Prasad.
The order to quarantine the legislator was passed by Additional District Magistrate, Law and Order, Akhilesh Kumar Sinha. Officials said that the RJD MLA reached Ranchi by road without informing the authorities, and when they came to know about her visit from the government guest house she was quarantined for 14 days as per the COVID-19 protocols in the state.
The MLA said that she was unaware of the quarantine norms in place. She said she has urged the Jharkhand government to release her from isolation and allow to go back home. The Bihar legislator has been quarantined in a state guest house in the Jharkhand capital town.
The incident stirred the political pot in Bihar where elections are due in October-November.
Ruling JD(U) and the new entrant to NDA-fold, Hindustani Awam Morcha (HAM) of former chief minister Jitan Ram Manjhi, attacked RJD for “using its influence" on the party supported coalition government in Jharkhand to “punish" a dalit woman MLA while Tej Pratap Yadav visiting Ranchi to meet Prasad at RIMS last Thursday without inviting any similar action.
The RJD rubbished the charges. Bihar’s minister for Information and Public Relations Department Neeraj Kumar asked RJD leader Tejashwi Yadav to speak as “why the Jharkhand government under influence of his party is adopting double standards in dealing with Samta Devi and Tej Pratap Yadav. “Has she been punished because she is a dalit woman?" the JD(U) leader asked the RJD leader in a statement in Patna.
HAM national spokesman Danish Rizwan also trained guns at RJD, alleging “Lalu is insulting dalits using his influence on the Jharkhand government." Manjhi who had quit Grand Alliance led by RJD on August 20 announced Wednesday that his party is joining NDA in Bihar as a constituent.
RJD spokesperson Mrityunjay Tiwari brushed aside the charges and said the law was taking its course in the neighbouring state without discriminating anybody. “Lalu jee seems haunting NDA leaders day and night. Since they have nothing to show for by way of work to the voters, they are levelling baseless allegations," Tiwari said in Patna. “Lalu ji is not meeting anybody in RIMS…I don"t know why anybody is going Ranchi to meet him," he said.
Bihar Deputy Chief Minister Sushil Kumar Modi has also accused the RJD supremo of running his political show from behind the bars and even receiving biodata of over 200 ticket aspirants for the state assembly polls. “If the Jharkhand government is helping Lalu to run the party and allowing him to play a political role while violating the jail manual, we will seek the Election Commission"s intervention," the senior Bihar BJP leader had said in a series of tweets last Friday.
The RJD is a part of the JMM-led coalition government in Jharkhand. Congress is also a member of it.
Prasad is serving time in jail in four fodder scam cases.
He was shifted to RIMS because of medical issues and then to the vacant bungalow of the director of the facility after some of his attendants reportedly tested positive for COVID-19.
A public interest litigation (PIL) has also been filed in the Jharkhand High Court seeking transfer of the RJD president back to jail.(This story has not been edited by News18 staff and is published from a syndicated news agency feed)