Social welfare minister Parveen Amanullah addresses the news meet in Patna on Tuesday. Picture by Ashok Sinha
Patna, Feb. 4: In a major setback to the JD(U) ahead of the Lok Sabha elections, social welfare minister Parveen Amanullah today resigned from the Nitish Kumar cabinet.
She also resigned from the membership of the Assembly and the JD(U), as well.
Amanullah (54), wife of senior IAS officer Afzal Amanullah and daughter of former MP Syed Shahabuddin, had entered politics in 2010 when the JD(U) fielded her from Sahebpur Kamal Assembly constituency in Begusarai district. The first-time MLA was made a minister by Nitish and she not only was one of the women faces of Nitish’s ministry but also someone from the minority community, a segment, which Nitish has been trying hard to win over.
She announced her resignation in a hurriedly convened media conference at her official residence minutes after Nitish flew to take part in Bodh Mahotsava in Bodhgaya.
The jolt has come at a time when Nitish is trying hard to stitch a non-Congress non-BJP alliance by joining hands with like-minded parties. “I have resigned from my post in the government and also my seat in the Assembly as well as from the primary membership of the party,” she told reporters around 4.40pm — only 10 minutes after Nitish took the chopper.
Dressed in a green salwar suit, black long coat and coloured shawl, she appeared firm not only in her words but also her body language exhibited so with her right hand firmly clasped by her left hand while she was sharing the decision with the media. And she maintained her confidence while saying: “The question does not arise (of a decision rollback).”
Parveen, however, was composed while citing the reason behind the sudden decision. “I have nothing personal against anyone. People know my style of functioning and I was not being able to do the work with desired effectiveness. Hence, I chose to resign,” she said while refusing to share the details of her resignation letter which she sent to Nitish’s office after informing the latter about it over phone at 12.30pm today. Nitish did not ask her to reconsider the decision. “He said I was free to do things the way I feel,” she said.
However, JD(U) state president Bashishtha Narayan Singh said he had requested Parveen to reconsider her decision.
Though Parveen did not share the details of her letter with the media but sources close to her said she had stated that she was feeling suffocated while working in the government and the environment was not conducive to work effectively. “She also apprehended that the department had ganged up against her and someone in the CM’s secretariat too was tampering with the files sent by her before putting them up before the chief minister,” added the source.
The sources close to Parveen said she was likely to contest the general elections on the ticket of Arvind Kejriwal’s Aam Aadmi Party from one of the Bihar seats.
Parveen, however, does not appear to be in a hurry so far as the future course of action is concerned. “I would weigh all options before taking any decision on contesting the general elections. Give me some time to think. I have just resigned today,” she said.
On the sudden turn of events, her former cabinet colleague and BJP leader Sushil Kumar Modi said: “She was one of the most honest and competent ministers in the Nitish cabinet. Her resignation underlines the fact that honest and dedicated people have no role in this government.”
RJD legislative party leader in the Assembly Abdul Bari Siddiqui said: “Her resignation clearly shows that she is not happy with the functioning of the Nitish government and it has also established the charge which we have been levelling against this government,” he said.