The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Samata spokesman joins Cong

New Delhi, May 12: Samata Party spokesman and general secretary Shambhu Shrivastwa today quit his party for the Congress. He formally joined the Congress this evening at the party headquarters in the presence of the AICC general secretary in charge of Bihar, R.K. Dhawan, and party chief Sonia Gandhi’s political secretary, Ahmed Patel.

Shrivastwa has been at odds with the Samata over its stand on last year’s Gujarat riots and the move to sell oil majors Hindustan Petroleum and Bharat Petroleum.

In his resignation letter, copies of which were released to the media, Shrivastwa told party chief George Fernandes: “My disillusionment with you and the National Democratic Alliance is complete. Instead of allies changing and sobering the BJP, the latter is saffronising them. It would therefore be unethical for me to continue my association with the party,” he said.

Shrivastwa is the fourth spokesperson belonging to the original Janata Dal to join the Congress in the last four years. Former Dal spokesman Jaipal Reddy, who is now chief Congress spokesperson, former Samajwadi spokesman Amitabh Adhar and former Janata Dal (United) spokesperson Mohan Prakash are the others to have joined the Congress.

Shrivastwa, a Fernandes loyalist, is believed to have lost faith in his leader’s ability to protect his interests in the ongoing Fernandes-Nitish Kumar turf battle in Bihar.

Asked if the Fernandes-Nitish rivalry had led him to quit, Shrivastwa said there was no “genuine difference” between the two leaders. “They are made for each other,” he said. If at all the two were sparring, it was to suit deputy Prime Minister .K. Advani, Shrivastwa added.

Shrivastwa said he had been slow in figuring out Fernandes. He said the defence minister had no convictions and had become a vocal supporter of divisive forces represented by the Sangh parivar.

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