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RJD demands security for MP Manoj Jha amid ‘Thakurs’ poem controversy

Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) spokesperson and former MLA Rishi Mishra on Thursday wrote to Union Home Minister Amit Shah, demanding security for party MP Manoj Jha. This demand comes on the heels of backlash that Jha is facing after he recited a poem on “Thakurs” during a recent debate regarding the Women’s Reservation Bill (WRB) […]

Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) spokesperson and former MLA Rishi Mishra on Thursday wrote to Union Home Minister Amit Shah, demanding security for party MP Manoj Jha. This demand comes on the heels of backlash that Jha is facing after he recited a poem on “Thakurs” during a recent debate regarding the Women’s Reservation Bill (WRB) in the Rajya Sabha last week.
“The threats being given to Rajya Sabha MP, Manoj Kumar Jha, are disconcerting. Among those giving threats, BJP MLA Raghvendra Pratap Singh has threatened to slit his neck. A former MLA spoke about taking out his tongue and throwing it towards the Chair [in the house]. Former Minister Neeraj Singh ‘Bablu’ has also threatened to cut [Jha’s] tongue. Such statements filled with anger might pose a threat to the life of Manoj Jha-ji. This must be under the cognisance of the ministry”, the letter read. “Manoj Jha-ji is an intellectual, calm and civilised person who also bagged the award of the ‘Best MP’ for his intellect. It is the duty of the ministry to shield such a person full of distinctive talent. You are requested to provide the ‘Y’ category of security so that he can feel safe,” it added.
Notably, the poem that the RJD MP recited—titled “Thakur ka Kuan”, written Omprakash Valmiki—during a discussion on the Women’s Reservation Bill in the Rajya Sabha, has created political turmoil in the state of Bihar with several BJP leaders attacking Jha for his speech and condemning the poem. Lok Janshakti Party (Ram Vilas) Chief Chirag Paswan said, “This is completely unfair. Such statements are creating dissatisfaction in society. It hurts the sentiments of people and the manner in which the top leadership is tight-lipped on the statement gives tacit support to this. We strongly condemn this.”
Meanwhile, Janata Dal United (JDU) President Lalan Singh said that the poem recited by Jha was not an attack on any caste. “The speech given by Manoj Jhaji is a testament in itself that it is not targeted at any particular caste. The BJP creates tension in society and attracts votes by instigating sentiments”, Singh said.
In an exclusive ground survey conducted by India News on Thursday, an almost equal number of respondents felt that the purpose of Jha’s recitation was to express the pain of the backward classes (25.16%) and derailing the debate on the Women’s Bill (25.18%). A larger portion of respondents (29.80%) felt that Jha meant to indulge in divisive identity politics in the House. A large chunk of respondents (40.43%) felt that the controversy was sparked due to caste-based reasons and 25.12% felt that the controversy had been scripted or contrived. Interestingly, a large number (37.74%) felt that Jha’s party, the RJD, had the most to gain from caste-based politics, this was followed closely by the BJP (33.78%), and other parties (10.80%). A whopping 50.30% of respondents felt that this had or would likely cause a rift in the RJD-JDU alliance.

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