Rajiv Pratap Singh says Nitish must sack Minister and apologize to nation

New Delhi, Aug. 9 (ANI): Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) General Secretary Rajiv Pratap Rudy on Friday launched a frontal attack on Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar, demanding that the Janata Dal (United) chief should order an immediate sacking of his Minister Bhim Singh for making a derogatory statement that people joined the Indian Army and the police force just to die.

"Nitish Kumar must sack the Minister and must apologize to the nation," Rudy said.

Rudy said that the statement reflected the unfortunate sentiment that prevails in the Bihar government of Chief Minister Nitish Kumar.

"Such a statement is not only bizarre, it's not only shameless but it is something which is unexpected. I am not ready to believe that this could have happened without the Chief Minister's-I wouldn't say consent-but the mindset of the Chief Minister; possibly this has been reflected in the mindset of Bihar," Rudy said.

"The BJP demands that the Chief Minister of Bihar, Nitish Kumar, has to apologize to the families, has to salute these soldiers who were killed, has to apologize to the state of Bihar, has to apologize to the whole nation and all the armed forces in the nation for the statement made by his cabinet minister. If Nitish Kumar is regretful of what has been spoken by his minister then what prevents him from sacking the errant minister immediately?" Rudy added.

Saying that Bhim Singh is a senior cabinet colleague of Mr. Nitish Kumar and supposedly very close to him, Rudy said "I believe he has given an apology which is conditional. Beyond this, the aspect that one has to refer is the mindset of the state government of Bihar headed by Nitish Kumar."

Further, Rudy slammed the Chief Minister for not visiting the martyred soldiers' families, in the aftermath of the tragedy.

"The Chief Minister, Nitish Kumar, did not find it proper to depute a-forget about him visiting the martyrs most of them who were from Bihar, the sons of the soil of Bihar-single minister for the cremation or the funeral. ...So far, we have not heard anything specific coming from the Chief Minister of Bihar," Rudy said.

Turning the discussion to the JD(U) Chief, Rudy said, "Let's see the conscience of Nitish Kumar-whether he thinks Pakistan is closer to him or the sons of soil of Bihar are closer to him. Let's see and wait and watch what Nitish Kumar has to say."

On Thursday, Chief Minister Nitish Kumar expressed regret for the insensitivity of his Minister's comment.

"I regret what my colleague has said. I apologise and express regret over the remark. We salute the sacrifice made by the martyrs," he told media here.

Nitish Kumar further said Bhim Singh had realized his mistake.

"As soon as I heard his comment, I called him up. He said that he made a mistake. It is very sad that my cabinet minister gave such a comment," said Kumar.

"We have to respect our martyrs. The whole country is indebted to the soldiers and to give respect to the martyrs is our duty.

The Bihar Chief Minister had earlier announced state honours for the martyrs, and also announced Rs.10 lakh as ex-gratia payment to each of the affected families

Bhim Singh, who is Bihar's Panchayati Raj Minister, had earlier apologized for his insensitive remark.

"I apologize if my distorted comments have caused pain to the people. The Chief Minister called me up and expressed his displeasure over my comment. My comments have been distorted, I had not said that," he told media in Patna.

"Sena aur police me log marne hi jate hain (People join the army and the police force only to die)," Bhim Singh told the media in Patna, when asked about the absence of state ministers at the airport to receive to coffins carrying the bodies of four martyred soldiers from Bihar.

"Did your father and mother go (to receive the soldiers' bodies)," he added, while posing a counter- question to a reporter.

There was no Minister at the Patna airport last night to receive the bodies of the soldiers. The bodies of the soldiers were brought to Patna by special plane last night.

The mortal remains of Sepoy Vijay Kumar Rai, Lance Naik Shambhu Saran Singh and Premnath Singh and Sepoy Raghunandan Prasad from 21 Bihar regiment, who were among five soldiers killed along LoC, were today consigned to flames at their native villages of with full state honours.

Hundreds of people gathered at the cremation grounds to pay their homage to the brave soldiers who were martyred in the Poonch sector on Tuesday. (ANI)

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