Union Minister Giriraj Singh charged for violating Model Code of Conduct

Union Minister Giriraj Singh has been charged with violating the model code of conduct a day after he made controversial comments at a rally in Bihar’s Begusarai in the presence of BJP chief Amit Shah among others. A First Information Report or FIR was filed at a police station against the minister with a long history of polarising remarks, District Magistrate, Begusarai Rahul Kumar said on Thursday.

At the rally, the veteran BJP leader, who has been pitched against former student leader Kanhaiya Kumar from Begusarai, had a sharp message – ostensibly for a Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) candidate. Besides Mr Shah, the rally was attended by a number of other BJP leaders, including Deputy Chief Minister Sushil Kumar Modi.

“I want to say who don’t say Vande Mataram, can’t worship the motherland – Giriraj’s father and grandfather died on the Simaria ghat by the banks of the Ganga and did not need a grave. You on the other hand, need three-arm’s-length of land. If you don’t do it, the country will never forgive you,” he said. On the face of it, the comment was meant for the RJD candidate from Darbhanga, Abdul Bari Siddiqui. “The RJD candidate said in Darbhanga that he won’t say Vande Mataram,” Giriraj Singh said. But the minister has long been known for his communal remarks, for which he drew reprimand from ally Nitish Kumar last year. The minister is known to “order” critics of the BJP to “go to Pakistan” at the drop of a hat. On Tuesday, he had called on a ban on green flags – often associated with Islam – by the Election Commission. In November, his comment that the Islamic seminary of Deoband was a “temple of terrorism” had drawn protests. After the seat sharing with Nitish Kumar’s party was finalised, Giriraj Singh, however, had publicly said that he would uphold communal harmony.

Begusari, which is witnessing a three-cornered contest, is voting on April 29. The counting of votes will take place with the rest of the country on May 23.

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