Bihar Rural Works and Panchayati Raj Minister Bhim Singh said, "People join army or police for sahadat (martyrdom)," to questions by journalists about the absence of JD (U) ministers to receive the bodies of the four jawans flown in by special Air Force plane late Wednesday night at the Jai Prakash Narayan airport.
He then turned his ire on the media and attacked it saying "You had gone to the airport as part of your duty for which you are paid."
He even told a newsman of a private TV channel "Had your father gone to the airport to receive the bodies? ...You had gone there as part of your duty for which you are paid."
As soon as his comments were aired on TV an angry opposition demanded his immediate sacking. RJD secretary general Ramkripal Yadav (MP) demanded that Singh be removed immediately, while BJP deputy leader in Rajya Sabha Ravishankar Prasad asked Chief Minister Nitish Kumar to apologize for the 'insulting' remarks of the minister and upbraid him.
When contacted, Singh said, "I am sorry not once but 100 times for the comments." Singh, however, claimed that his comments had been 'twisted'. "But since the remark has hurt the feeling of the people I apologize for the comments."
The minister said Chief Minister Nitish Kumar, who is in Delhi, had rung him to express his 'displeasure' over his comments on jawans.
This is not the first time that Singh, who had crossed to JD (U) from RJD on the eve of the 2010 assembly polls, has courted controversy. Last year he had demanded that NDA declare Nitish Kumar as the coalition prime minister for 2014.
He had been upbraided by Kumar then only he publicly apologized and withdrew his remark. Ravishankar Prasad said the comment of the minister was ‘shocking and distressing’. BJP leader and former Bihar minister Ashwani Choubey assailed Bhim Singh for his ‘insulting’ comments.
Bihar Congress media in-charge Prem Chand Mishra castigated the minister for the comments and asked the CM to ‘keep such a minister under check’. Ramkripal Yadav said Singh's remarks were the ‘ultimate insult’ to sacrifices by defence and police forces and demanded that he be sacked.
BJP has dubbed the ruling JD (U) as ‘insensitive’ as none of the ministers of Nitish Kumar were present at the airport.
Senior BJP leaders, including former deputy chief minister Sushil Kumar Modi, vice-president C P Thakur and state party president Mangal Pandey, besides RJD MLA Bhai Birendra had gone to the airport when the bodies were flown in.


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