Azad's father too got the boot for fighting graft

Azad's father too got the boot for fighting graft

Former Bihar chief minister had targeted mafias

Azad's father too got the boot for fighting graft

Suspended BJP MP Kirti Azad now suspended, may have replied to the show-cause notice issued to him by the party and reiterated his unflinching loyalty towards the saffron camp, but it’s like history repeating itself in his family.

Nearly three decades back, his father Bhagwat Jha Azad, a six-term Lok Sabha member, who served as Union minister and Bihar chief minister, got the boot for fighting against corruption. This, albeit, happened in the Congress, a party which Bhagwat Jha served for more than five decades.

The veteran Congress leader, who worked as Union minister of State under Indira Gandhi as well as Rajiv Gandhi, was handpicked by the latter to become Bihar chief minister on February 14, 1988.

A no-nonsense man, Bhagwat Jha Azad soon launched a crackdown on cooperative mafias in Bihar, who then enjoyed enormous clout in the previous Congress regimes in the state.  Among the first who got the stick was the reigning “cooperative king” Tapeshwar Singh, who was then chairman of the Bihar State Cooperative Marketing Union.

Yet another leader, Rajo Singh, an accused in fodder scam in later years, then headed the Bihar State Land Development Bank as its chairman. The third such alleged mafiosi was N K Singh, who then headed Bihar State Cooperative Bank.

The crackdown against all the mafias made Bhagwat Jha earn plaudits from Rajiv Gandhi.

But in his fight against corruption, he made more enemies than friends within his own party. His rivals like Dr Jagannath Mishra (former CM), Shiv Chandra Jha (the then Assembly Speaker), Tariq Anwar (former BPCC president) and LP Sahi (then a Union minister) soon joined hands and demanded his immediate ouster.

 The Rajput lobby was at the forefront gunning for Bhagwat Jha Azad’s scalp. Eventually, the man whom Rajiv Gandhi appointed as Bihar chief minister in February 1988 was asked to put in his papers in March 1989. Now, history seems to be repeating itself as Bhagwat Jha Azad’s son and cricketer-turned-politician Kirti Azad, too, seems to be on the verge of getting the boot for fighting against corruption, albeit in a party his father abhorred but to which Kirti remained loyal for last 22 years.