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Sunday 19 January 2020

RS Prasad, RK Sinha factions clash outside Patna airport

Caste consideration has been a significant factor in choosing a candidate for Patna Sahib. Only Kayasthas get tickets of prominent parties here.

Patna: Some disgruntled elements in the BJP, upset about the seat-sharing arrangement among NDA allies, are venting their frustration through violence. On Tuesday, at the Patna airport, a fierce fight broke out between two factions of the BJP, which ended only after the intervention of the police. Union minister Ravi Shankar Prasad had reached Patna Airport where supporters of BJP Rajya Sabha MP Ravindra Kishore Sinha had been waiting for his arrival.

Sloganeering by the supporters of RK Sinha against Ravi Shankar infuriated supporters of the latter and soon a bout of fisticuffs broke out between the factions.

Sinha had been eyeing one of the two Lok Sabha seats, Patna Sahib or Pataliputra, for some years now. A source close to the Rajya Sabha MP and head of the private security company Security and Intelligence Services (SIS) said Sinha positioned the news agency Hindusthan Samachar of the RSS in a manner that furthers his electoral ambition.

In the name of promoting the agency and some magazines Sinha runs, he would engage in frequent photo-ops with different ministers for the past two years, with his nephew Vishal Sinha in tow, the source said. The idea was to get his son Rituraj Kishore Sinha the BJP nomination for either Pataliputra or Patna Sahib, the source said.

A source in the BJP said the chances of Sinha’s son getting a ticket slimmed after the SIS head’s name figured in connection with the Panama Papers scandal investigated by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ) whose report was published in The Indian Express.

Sinha had protested against the report via advertisements in newspapers, insisting that he was innocent. However, “although there wasn’t much merit to the report, it was terrible optics,” the source said.

A screen grab of the report of ICIJ on RK Sinha

The incident of violence between the supporters of Prasad and Sinha occurred outside the Patna airport. After the intervention of the police, the dispute was resolved. Later, Ravi Shankar Prasad left for party office.

Union minister Ravi Shankar Prasad has been made the BJP candidate from Patna Sahib, replacing rebel Shatrughan Sinha. While the ouster of the actor-turned-politician was certain due to his embarrassing attacks on the party leadership for some years, RK Sinha lobbied for Patna Sahib as Pataliputra was less probable, much as the Sinhas’ residence is in the Pataliputra area. Union minister Ram Kripal Yadav is the BJP candidate from Pataliputra.

Caste consideration has been a significant factor in choosing a candidate for Patna Sahib. Only Kayasthas get tickets of prominent parties here. Shatrughan Sinha and television personality Shekhar Suman, who once contested for this seat, are both Kayasthas. Ravi Shankar Prasad and RK Sinha are Kayasthas too.

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