Blow to Nitish as senior MLA prepares to join BJP

SSenior legislator Chhedi Paswan, who met Modi, looks likely to leave Nitish Kumar's JD-U to join BJP

In a blow to Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar, senior JD(U) legislator Chhedi Paswan has all but decided to join the BJP. Paswan met Narendra Modi in Gandhinagar on Saturday and is expected to be inducted into the BJP fold by October 27, when the Gujarat CM is scheduled to address his Hunkaar Rally in Patna.

Paswan, a four-term MLA and two-time MP, is a top Scheduled Caste leader of the JD(U). He had twice defeated Lok Sabha speaker Meira Kumar in elections. Paswan, a former minister in the Nitish government, had been sulking for some time now. He was expecting a ministerial berth after Nitish severed ties with the BJP, but the latter has been taking time to fill the vacancies left by the exit of 11 BJP ministers.

JD(U) spokesman K C Tyagi tried to play down this development. "Paswan, being a dissident MLA, may go anywhere. It is election time and such movements go on. This will not affect JD(U)'s prospects," he said. To support his argument, Tyagi pointed out that seven BJP MLAs in Bihar had joined the JD(U).

Party's Bihar chief Bashistha Narayan Singh, however, was more straightforward. "The party has taken serious note of Mohania MLA Chhedi Paswan meeting Narendra Modi. This is totally unacceptable. We will issue a show cause notice to him and take further action," he said.

Paswan is the latest politician from Bihar to come over to the BJP. Sadhu Yadav, Dasal Chaudhary and Jai Narain Prasad Nishad had earlier met Modi and expressed their allegiance to saffron party.

With inputs from

Santosh Singh in Patna

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