Patna: Bihar politician Mohammad Shahabuddin, in jail for over a decade for charges including kidnapping and murder, has been given a place in a top panel of Lalu Yadav’s RJD, which co-governs Bihar with Nitish Kumar.
Shahabuddin, a former lawmaker of the RJD or Rashtriya Janata Dal, has been named a member of the party’s national executive, its main decision-making body.
Lalu Yadav’s wife and former chief minister Rabri Devi, responded to criticism and questions on the controversial choice with another question: “Why doesn’t the BJP put its house in order first? Why don’t they remove Amit Shah instead of questioning us?”
Shahabuddin, one of Bihar’s most feared figures, is a four-time lawmaker from Siwan, where his complete dominance was described as a reign of terror. When Nitish Kumar came to power in 2005, he lost much of his political clout and was mostly in jail.
His return to the forefront in RJD is being cited by the BJP as another sign of worsening law and order in the state since Nitish Kumar and Lalu Yadav came together to form a government after last year’s election.
“There are no rules or regulations or laws anymore. It is just a ‘tamasha’,” said the BJP’s Prem Kumar, Leader of Opposition, in the Bihar Assembly
Last month, an RJD minister landed the government in a controversy after a photograph of his meeting with Shahabuddin in jail was posted on social media. The photo had Shahabuddin flanked by the minister and a party lawmaker and all three were also having snacks in violation of prison rules.
Lalu Yadav had shrugged off the controversy saying: “What’s the big deal? They were eating something then what is the problem in it? When I was in jail, people used to come and we used to have tea and refreshments.”
In December, a court sentenced Shahabuddin to life in jail for a double murder in 2004. Satish Raj and Girish Raj, the young sons of a businessman, were kidnapped, drenched in acid and killed.