Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar on Tuesday said top officials from the state were in constant touch with their counterparts in Gujarat and appealed to Biharis living in the western state to stay firmly where they were.
Mr Kumar, who had a telephonic talk with Gujarat Chief Minister Vijay Rupani on Monday amid a large number of migrant workers from Bihar and some other Hindi-belt states fleeing Gujarat following attacks on them, said a constant watch is being kept on the situation there.
“Our Chief Secretary and DGP are in constant touch with their counterparts in Gujarat. We are keeping a watch on the situation there. I would also appeal to the people (from Bihar living in Gujarat) that they stay firmly where they were notwithstanding the incidents that have taken place”, Mr Kumar told reporters on the sidelines of a function in Patna.
Mr Kumar had on Monday said he spoke to Mr Rupani to enquire about the situation in Gujarat where violence has erupted following the alleged rape of a 14-month-old girl allegedly by a Bihar resident.
Deputy Chief Minister Sushil Kumar Modi, speaking separately, echoed the views expressed by Kumar and also squarely blamed Congress MLA Alpesh Thakor’s outfit for the violence against Biharis.
Mr Thakor is also the Congress secretary for Bihar.
“Top officials in Gujarat like its Chief Secretary, its DGP and IG Prisons hail from Bihar. Biharis living there are safe and secure and the state government is taking effective action against those indulging in violence. I would also urge the Gujarat government to immediately arrest people like Alpesh Thakor who is behind these incidents,” the deputy chief minister said.
In a statement, the BJP unit of Bihar also attacked the Congress.
“The silence of top leaders, including Rahul Gandhi, on the issue and reluctance to take any action against Thakor shows the anti-Bihari prejudice in the party,” the party alleged.
The party’s Bihar unit also criticised RJD leader Tejashwi Yadav for “maintaining an alliance with the Congress despite the latter’s obvious involvement in attacks on Biharis”.
On his part, Tejashwi Yadav hit back at Mr Rupani for accusing the Congress of inciting “violence against migrants”.
“Mr CM, have you taken leave of your senses. How dare you call fellow Indians migrants. Do you mean to say a migrant won from UP and became the Prime Minister of India. We demand an immediate apology from you,” Mr Yadav tweeted.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who had served as Gujarat chief minister for more than a decade, contested the 2014 Lok Sabha polls from Vadodara and Varanasi. After becoming Prime Minister, he gave up the Lok Sabha seat in his home state, while retaining the one in eastern Uttar Pradesh.