Student suicide: Ram Vilas Paswan charges opposition with playing 'petty politics'

Allahabad, Jan 24: Pointing out that the Centre has ordered a judicial inquiry into the suicide of a young Dalit scholar and the incident has been regretted by the Prime Minister himself, Union Minister Ram Vilas Paswan on Jan 23 charged the opposition parties with indulging in "petty politics" over the issue.

"Everybody is saddened by the suicide of Rohith Vemula. Prime Minister Narendra Modi has himself, publicly, expressed his grief over the tragedy. A judicial inquiry has been ordered and the probe is expected to be complete within three months. Further questions should not be raised until then. Though it appears that some of our opponents want to indulge in petty politics", Paswan told reporters here.

Ram Vilas Paswan

Paswan, who holds the Food and Public Distribution portfolio and heads the Lok Janshakti Party (LJP) - a constituent of the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance - is on a three-day visit of the district during which he will take part in a number of social and political functions.

Earlier in the day, local Congress workers protesting Rohith's suicide and the alleged role played by Union Ministers Bandaru Dattatreya and Smriti Irani had blocked the entrance gate of the Circuit House when Paswan's cavalcade arrived.

The LJP worker was accompanied by scores of workers of his own party and the BJP who clashed with the Congress activists. 

Situation was brought under control only after the Union Minister stepped out of his vehicle and urged the agitated Congress workers to calm down, reminding them of the judicial inquiry and the expression of regret by the Prime Minister.

Significantly, the LJP was earlier a constituent of the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance and Paswan held a cabinet berth in the Manmohan Singh during 2004-09.

He lost his post after the 2009 Lok Sabha elections which saw him losing his own parliamentary seat of Hajipur in Bihar. 

In the run-up to the 2014 Lok Sabha polls, Paswan had quit the UPA and joined the NDA, and with the help of the Modi wave succeeded in reviving his political fortunes.

The Bihar assembly elections, nevertheless, came as a setback to his LJP as well as the BJP as arch-rivals Nitish Kumar and Lalu Prasad buried their differences to stitch an alliance which went on to gain a massive three-fourth majority. 

However, the BJP is likely to bank on the LJP chief's appeal among Dalits to form a politically viable social coalition in the crucial state of Uttar Pradesh which goes to polls nearly a year later and where the saffron party faces a stiff challenge, despite strong anti-incumbency against the Samajwadi Party, from Mayawati's Bahujan Samaj Party.


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