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Nitish downsized, alleges RJD

Suresh Sharma at his office in Patna on Wednesday.
Picture by Roshan Kumar

Patna: The RJD on Wednesday alleged that chief minister Nitish Kumar has been "downsized", and cited his not taking any action on BJP minister Suresh Sharma who has been accused of being involved in a "drunken brawl" with the employees of a hotel in Bengal.

RJD leaders pointed out how Nitish had in the past taken the resignation of his own ministers for lesser charges, such as Awadhesh Kushwaha on the basis of a sting operation and former excise minister Jamshed Ashraf when he alleged corruption in his own department.

The inaction on Sharma, a senior RJD leader said, "shows the political downsizing of Nitish Kumar who had sacked 11 BJP ministers at one go when he wanted to snap ties with the BJP. But now he finds it difficult to even open his mouth on the issue of Suresh Sharma".

RJD MLA Bhai Birendra pointed out how Nitish had asked for an explanation from Tejashwi Yadav when the then deputy chief minister had been named in a CBI FIR.

"Where is the conviction of chief minister Nitish Kumar that erring ministers must quit the ministry? Why does he not have the courage to sack Suresh Sharma who has given a bad name to Bihar? Now it is clear that Nitish just wanted to come out of the Grand Alliance and Tejashwi was an excuse," Birendra alleged.

In the past, whenever there was a reshuffle or change of ministers during the NDA1 regime in Bihar, Nitish would take from the BJP a list of ministers to be dropped and new names to be added. Then he was the senior partner of the alliance and there were shouts and murmurs that he managed to get his alliance partners to drop BJP ministers he did not trust.

The RJD leaders pointed out that this time not only has the BJP come out in support of Sharma, even a few JDU leaders have also come out in his defence and criticised Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee's government for not providing security to the Bihar minister despite an official letter informing about his trip.

Deputy chief minister Sushil Kumar Modi has also dismissed demands for the sacking of Sharma, and declared that Suresh Sharma is not a (don-turned-politician) Mohammad Shahabuddin or Raj Ballabh Yadav (accused of rape).

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