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Tiwari runs out of options

Patna, March 8: Shivanand Tiwari, one of the most sought-after leaders at a time, has become party-less after RJD chief Lalu Prasad shut the door on him.

In a statement issued today, the Rajya Sabha MP said the “so-called” fighter of social justice and secularism (read Nitish Kumar) removed him from the party and the other (Lalu Prasad) refused to open gates for him.

“After being expelled from the JD(U) by Nitish, I did not have any option but to go to Lalu,” said a candid Tiwari.

During the JP Movement, Tiwari was closely associated with both Lalu and Nitish. He was one of the founding memb ers of the Samata Party when Nitish Kumar parted ways with Lalu in 1995. Later, Tiwari crossed over to Lalu’s RJD and became an MLA and minister. In 2005, when Lalu lost power, he returned to Nitish.

Tiwari added that a few days back, he telephoned Lalu requesting to be fielded from either Ara or Bettiah (West Champaran) in the Lok Sabha polls. But as the alliance and the names of the RJD candidates were announced on Thursday, it was evident that Lalu had not accepted his request. “I have become an untouchable for both Lalu and Nitish,” he said.

Tiwari was denied a re-nomination to the Rajya Sabha by the JD(U) along with Shabir Ali and N.K. Singh. Nitish, instead, asked him to contest from Buxar but Tiwari turned down the offer. He accused Nitish of taking revenge for his candid remarks at the JD(U)’s camp in Rajgir.

The former JD(U) national spokesperson was although grateful to BJP leader Sarayu Rai, who telephoned him yesterday. Rai offered to try to get a BJP ticket for Tiwari if he so wanted. “After being rejected by my two old associates (Nitish and Lalu), I was under tremendous pressure from my family and friends to contest the elections. But my conscience did not allow me to fight on a BJP ticket. I thanked Sarayu Rai for the offer but turned it down,” he said.

Although he has not decided on his political future, Tiwari added: “Till I live, I am not the sort of man who would remain silent.”


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