The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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MP suspended

New Delhi, Sept. 26: Samata Party today suspended Brahmanand Mandal, MP from Munger in Bihar, for writing letters to Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee and Samata president George Fernandes, casting aspersions on Union railway minister Nitish Kumar, reports our special correspondent.

Mandal had a fortnight ago written to Vajpayee and Fernandes, alleging that Nitish patronised the mafia, took help from criminals to become the chief minister of Bihar, awarded contracts to criminals and behaved in an autocratic manner.

The MP also released his letters to the media.

Fernandes convened a meeting of the Samata parliamentary party last night, following intense pressure from Kumar, where Mandal was asked to withdraw the letters and express regret for levelling charges against the railway minister.

Mandal declined, saying he would stand by what he had said. He was subsequently suspended from the party for violating discipline.

“There is no question of withdrawing the letters I have written to Fernandes and the Prime Minister and, hence, I am not apologising. I will rather fight for the right cause,” he said.

Mandal claimed his suspension was against democracy and his party’s constitution, saying he would not quit but continue to fight from within the party.

He wondered why no action had been taken against Prabhunath Singh, an MP belonging to the Nitish camp, who had levelled charges against even the Prime Minister two months ago. The then Samata president, V.V. Krishna Rao, had served Singh a show cause notice, but Singh did not even bother to reply.

At the Samata parliamentary party meeting, minister of state for external affairs Digvijay Singh said action should not be selective but should be taken against anybody who violated party discipline, though did not mention Prabhunath Singh by name, sources said.

Fernandes, who chaired the meeting, however, took strong exception to the letters and asked Mandal to withdraw them and apologise. But Mandal said he stood by the points raised by him and added he would fight for the right cause.

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