Actor Sushant Singh Rajput’s unfortunate and untimely death has become a growth industry for two political parties hoping to win the Bihar elections and an out of work motor mouth actor and now a senior police official, who is also hoping to cash it in film crazy Bihar.
Since it is universal truth that most of India is obsessed with Bollywood, I would think you would have seen superstar Salman Khan’s hit series Dabang about a cop. It certainly seems to have provided inspiration to Gupteshwar Pandey, formerly the director general of police, Bihar, who has taken voluntary retirement to contest the Bihar state assembly elections. Pandey announced his political arrival with a rap video, which calls him the Robin Hood of Bihar police, and has some incredibly cheap references to Rajput’s death, and how Pandey secured a probe by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) into his death.
The last time Robin Hood was referred to in relation to a Bihar cop was Chulbul Pandey in Dabang. Clearly, Pandey has been nursing political ambitions for a while now. Incredibly, this is Pandey’s second political punt. The 1987 batch official, in a first case of this kind, took voluntary retirement in March 2014 to contest the parliamentary elections on a BJP ticket from Buxar. Pandey was left in the lurch as the BJP denied him a ticket.
Nine months post his opting for retirement, Pandey was reinstated by the Nitish Kumar government. Why and how Pandey was allowed to come back to service is a mystery, but he certainly proved his worth to Kumar and Amit Shah with his open political interference with the Mumbai police, which was earlier investigating the Rajput case. Pandey also made headlines of the wrong sort when he attacked actor Rhea Chakraborty Rajput’s partner and asked: “Uski aukat kya hai?”(a chauvinist feudal question of her status).
The BJP and JDU, who run Bihar in alliance, have made it clear, that fearing a backlash on the terrible handling of the migrants return and COVID-19 mismanagement, the only issue to exploit will be an emotive campaign on justice for Rajput. The first poster issued by the BJP made the intent clear: justice for the son of the soil of Bihar who was hurt in Maharashtra.
The recent “chai service” by deputy chairman of the Rajya Sabha, Harivansh, to protesting members of the House was also milked for all it was worth. Modi tweeted about it and others played to the chorus that Bihar would avenge the treatment of Harivansh. In all this play of realpolitik, Rajput’s family has been left in the lurch by all the varied players who promised justice for Rajput. The family allowed themselves to be used by the BJP and the JDU with the result that from politicians to officials everyone is cashing in.
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I had first pointed out in Gulf News how the Rajput case headline would be weaponised for two outcomes. The first a headline management to deflect people’s attention from Chinese aggression and occupation of Indian land, the tanking economy and the out of control COVID-19 spread. So actor Deepika Padukone is issued summons for a laughable what’s app chat from four years ago by the Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB) on September 25, the day farmers are protesting against the controversial Farms act passed by a dubious voice vote. Guess what the media will cover? The second as a blank cheque to cash in on the Bihar elections. So IPS Pandey sans any cooling off has become the reel Pandey as a candidate in Bihar.