Republic TV, led by Arnab Goswami, went live today, with a monologue by Goswami thanking the viewers for their ‘patience’ and explaining at length the reason behind the birth of the new channel. Goswami, known for his ‘firebrand’ style of news anchoring and ‘big exposes’, opened the news channel with an exclusive story on former Bihar Chief Minister Lalu Prasad Yadav.
Republic aired a story on a purported telephone conversation between Rashtriya Janta Dal (RJD) supremo Lalu and Bihar strongman Mohammad Shahabuddin, who is now lodged in jail on charges of murder.
The ‘Lalu-Mafia’ tapes indicate that Shahabuddin issues instructions to the RJD chief. Though Lalu is yet to respond, the leak will prove to be a major setback for him.
Meanwhile, Arnab called on Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar to respond on the incident and take an action. Responding to the entire episode, Bharatiya Janata Party’s Sushil Modi said, ‘Lalu must quit public life’. “Republic of Arnab has exposed how Lalu is taking instructions from Dreaded criminal Shahabuddin. Will Nitish act?” wrote Modi on his twitter account.
Republic of Arnab has exposed how Lalu is taking instructions from Dreaded criminal Shahbuddin.Will Nitish act ?
— Sushil Kumar Modi (@SushilModi) May 6, 2017
Ramvilas Paswan’s son and Lok Sabha MP Chirag Paswan also took to Twitter and asked were the criminals running the Bihar government?
After #republictv expose the only question to Nitishji – who runs the Govt in Bihar. The CM or Lalu’s gangster ?
— Chirag Paswan (@ichiragpaswan) May 6, 2017
Shahabuddin is a criminal turned politician. He was elected four times as a Member of Parliament from Siwan, Bihar, with the RJD. Being convicted in many criminal cases, he was debarred from contesting the 2009 general elections. He is a member of RJD National Committee – the top decision making body of the party- and is known to be a close aide of Lalu.