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BJP leader drags ISIS into Bihar bypolls, police case filed

PATNA: A comment by Bihar BJP chief Nityanand Rai - that victory for RJD in Araria will turn Bihar into a "safe haven for ISIS" - has triggered a police case and a complaint at the state Election Commission as by-election for the Lok Sabha seat was held on Sunday. Lalu Yadav's party, which has been at the receiving end of the BJP's consistent attacks over law and order, has told the Election Commission that Rai's remark was in violation of the model code of conduct. A First Information Report was also lodged against him.
Araria has a high concentration of Yadavs or the Muslims, communities that have been traditional supporters of the RJD. On the last day of campaigning, Rai had allegedly said, "if Sarfaraz (RJD candidate) wins this election, Araria will become a safe haven for the ISIS (a global Islamic terror group). The victory of our candidate Pradip Singh will, on the other hand, give rise to patriotic fervour".
RJD candidate Sarfaraz Alam is the son of former lawmaker Mohammad Taslimuddin, whose death last year made the elections necessary. Taslimuddin had wrested the seat in 2014 from BJP's Pradeep Kumar Singh, whom the party has pitched again in this election.
Calling Rai's remark "outrageous", RJD national vice president Shivanand Tiwary told news agency Press Trust of India that the statement shows the "desperation in the BJP, which is faced with the possibility of a defeat in Araria".
The by-election in Bihar is seen a referendum on CM Nitish Kumar's alliance with the BJP that was crafted last year at the expense of the ties with RJD and the Congress. Lalu Yadav's party, which held Araria, had repeatedly called it a violation of the anti-BJP mandate delivered by the people of Bihar.
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