Addressing a press conference, RJD National General Secretary Shyam Rajak and State General Secretary Alok Mehta said their party members would protest in all corners of the state if a representation of the Ashokan pillar was not installed in the premises of the assembly.
“Emperor Ashoka is the symbol of harmony and brotherhood. After independence, the Ashokan Pillar was adopted as a national symbol and Ashoka Chakra was given a place in our national flag. We, the people of Bihar, are proud of our rich cultural heritage,” Mehta said, adding, “We respect the ‘swastika’ symbol and consider it pious. We believe its best place is in temples, our homes, our hearts and not in a place like Vidhan Sabha, but the BJP and the RSS try to put a religious angle on everything, even if it means neglecting the Constitution.
Rajak called it a fight over ideology and belief. “Samrat Ashoka has established good international relations by transmitting the teachings of Lord Buddha to other countries. It was under the reign of Emperor Ashoka that India became a veritable “vishwa guru”. Now, we will not tolerate any attack on what Lord Buddha taught and what Emperor Ashoka propagated. We believe in the teachings of Lord Buddha and everyone knows what PM Narendra Modi and RSS are doing. We want CM Nitish Kumar to agree to our request otherwise we will be staging statewide protests,” Rajak said.
However, JD(U) spokesperson Neeraj Kumar said Vidhan Sabha President Vijay Kumar Sinha made it clear that even Ashoka Chakra and Bodhi Tree would be there on the pillar with Swastika on it. He added that the Ashokan pillar is cultural heritage and no one can disrespect it.