“Nyay ke saath vikas, kanoon ka raj (justice and development, rule of law and order),” proclaims a giant hoarding with a full-length image of Nitish Kumar outside the Janata Dal (United) office in Patna. Nearby, at the Bharatiya Janata Party’s office, the leading opposition party is highlighting a spree of crimes in Bihar’s capital, to attack Kumar’s credibility.
The Rashtriya Janata Dal, to whom the tag of “jungle raj” in Bihar is attached and whose association with Kumar has once again rearranged the political alliances in the state, wants to only talk about its job promise to the youth. Deputy chief minister Tejashwi Yadav terms the BJP’s attack as propaganda and says it is because CM Nitish Kumar on August 15 endorsed his promise of giving 10 lakh government jobs to the state’s young population. Yadav said the government would not fall for diversions.
“The BJP initially attacked us on our 10 lakh job promise but after the CM has said the new government will try and create 20 lakh jobs, it has changed course and is drumming up the law and order issue. They will get a befitting answer in the next elections,” RJD spokesperson Mrityunjay Tiwari said. The home portfolio is with CM Nitish Kumar after initial speculation that Tejashwi Yadav would be given the police department.
Patna crime spree
Late on Wednesday night, an Army jawan named Bablu Kumar was shot dead in Patna by miscreants after an attempt was made to loot him near the Patliputra railway station.
On Wednesday, a class 9 girl student in the city was also shot at by a person caught in CCTV footage. The victim’s condition is critical. Police have so far not been able to catch the culprits in either of the cases but say they have got some leads.
What crime figures say
Murders in Patna were up this year till June when the JD(U)-BJP government was in power. Official data with the Bihar police available till June shows 166 murders had taken place in the year and on average about 25-30 such cases were reported each month. This is up from 2021 when 195 murders were reported in Patna in the entire year and 204 were reported from the state capital district in the year 2020.
In entire Bihar, 1,533 murders were reported till June this year while 2,799 were reported last year, and 3,149 in 2020. Total cognisable crimes in the state till this June stood at 1.62 lakh, compared to 2.82 lakh in 2021 and 2.57 lakh in 2020, showing that the first six months of 2022 were not good on the law and order front even under the JD(U)-BJP regime.
A Bihar police official said organised crime in the state was at its lowest ebb while murders out of personal enmity or disputes were being reported.