Upendra Kushwaha, a key aide of Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar on Tuesday inveighed against Sahitya Akademi Award winner Daya Prakash Sinha for likening Asoka the Great to Mughal Emperor Aurangzeb.

Upendra Kushwaha, a former Union minister who now heads the JD(U)’s parliamentary board, demanded that the award, announced recently but yet to be handed over to Sinha, be withdrawn forthwith.

Kushwaha also asked ally BJP to take action against the Padma Shri awardee playwright who is the national convenor of the party’s cultural cell. “He (Sinha) has made a very foul remark about Samrat (emperor) Asoka. He does not deserve the award and the same should be withdrawn.

What Daya Prakash Sinha had said ?

Sahitya Acedemy award winner playwriter from Gaya in Bihar said, “On Cruelty level Ashoka was like Aurangzeb, Who killed his relatives for sake of Power”. He further added, “Ashoka hand is soaked with Blood of thousand of Budhha Monks and innocent people. How can anybody call him “Ashoka….. The Great” ?

Asoka, whose name is suffixed with “the Great” by scholars the world over, was the grandson of Chandragupt Maurya who founded the Maurya dynasty of Magadha. Maurya, who was born in a family of poor shepherds and rose to become the most powerful king of his times, has been a cult figure of sorts for the politically ascendant OBCs of Bihar.