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Peeved Dalit leader joins BJP

- Rajya Sabha MP left in lurch; Chhedi hurt at Nitish’s style of work

Patna, March 8: JD(U) leader Chhedi Paswan today joined the BJP and said chief minister Nitish Kumar’s style of functioning had compelled him to make the switch.

Chhedi said only Narendra Modi could protect the country from external and internal security threats.

Chhedi, who joined the BJP in the presence of leaders like Sushil Kumar Modi, Nand Kishore Yadav and Mangal Pandey, resigned from the membership of the Assembly and the JD(U).

He said he was critical of chief minister Nitish Kumar’s style of functioning and was feeling suffocated in the party.

In a resignation letter to Assembly Speaker Uday Narayan Chaudhary, Paswan said the non-representation of the Paswan community and from the Shahabad region in the cabinet, Nitish’s autocratic style of functioning and communication gap between legislators were some of the reasons for leaving the JD(U).

Singing paeans for Narendra Modi, he said he made up his mind in September 2013 to join the BJP when he met the leader in Ahmedabad as part of a delegation from the state.

Amid slogans of Modi-Chhedi zindabad, Chhedi came down heavily on Nitish and said he has been making frivolous and irrational statements out of frustration, referring to Nitish’s interview in which he termed himself better qualified to be the Prime Minister.

Chhedi, who had trounced Lok Sabha Speaker Meira Kumar twice in 1989 and 1991 as a Janata Dal candidate, in all likelihood would be fielded against Meira from the Sasaram parliamentary constituency, once considered a pocket borough of Meira’s father Jagjivan Ram.

Former Bihar Legislative Council vice-chairman and JD(U) state vice-president Virendra Kumar Choudhary also joined the BJP.

Sushil Modi charged Nitish of carrying out defections and splits in the parties by offering either money or other allurement. Terming Chhedi’s decision to first resign from the membership of the Assembly a healthy tradition, Modi said the chief minister, who claims to conduct honest politics should have also got MLA Avanish Kumar Singh to resign before taking him into his party.

Mangal Pandey said the BJP raths (chariots) meant to spread Narendra Modi’s messages in every constituency have created panic in Nitish’s party and that’s why the state government has denied permission to the drive for allegedly violating provisions of the Motor Vehicles Act.

“This has been done at the behest of the chief minister to stop raths from campaigning. The officials are trying to interpret even what is not written in the rules. This is an attempt to stop raths from spreading Modi’s message in the hinterland. In every election, there would be raths with the party flag and posters of prominent leaders. What is wrong in it? It is an attack on democratic rights of a political party,” Pandey said.

Nand Kishore Yadav echoed a similar sentiment.