BJP MLC Tunnajee Pandey (Image credit: Bihar GK)

BJP suspends MLC after his anti-Nitish, pro-Shahabuddin remarks

In a somewhat unusual development, the Bharatiya Janata Party on Friday (June 4) suspended party MLC, Tunnajee Pandey from the party following his highly objectionable remarks against chief minister Nitish Kumar.

In a statement on May 31, he had quoted late RJD MP, Mohammad Shahabuddin that chief minister Nitish Kumar is the product of circumstances. The BJP MLC also alleged that actually Nitish had lost last year’s Assembly election to young Tejashwi Prasad Yadav of the Rashtriya Janata Dal and that he is holding on to power by sheer manipulation and indulging in irregularities. Not only that he soon tweeted justifying his remarks.  

His statement evoked sharp reaction from various Janata Dal-United leaders, most prominently from the recent convert, Upendra Kushwaha. It is other thing that the latter had himself given many such statements against Nitish when he was the Union minister of state of HRD in Narendra Modi’s first cabinet or when he was in the Grand Alliance.

However, cornered by the utterances by the party’s MLC the saffron brigade indulged in damage limitation exercise and issued a show cause notice to him on Thursday. This provoked Tunnajee further and he went on to meet the son of late Shahabuddin, Osama, in Siwan. The BJP MLC also comes from the same district.

He justified his meeting with Osama by stating that he could not meet the young son of Shahabuddin earlier because he was sick. It needs to be mentioned that jailed Shahabuddin died of corona virus in New Delhi last month.

Tunnajee, a liquor baron, was suspended by the party in 2016 after he was arrested by GRP in Poorvanchal Express near Hajipur following his misbehaviour with the 12-year old daughter of a fellow NRI passenger.

However, the party revoked his suspension later after the girl and her father withdrew their allegations. It was then alleged that the BJP state top brass compelled them to do so.

Tunnajee had won the last election from Local Authorities Siwan constituency. Like several other BJP and Janata Dal-United leaders of Bihar, especially Siwan, he always had a close relationship with late Shahabuddin. It needs to be mentioned that several NDA leaders, along with RJD supporters, were also present when Shahabuddin was released from Bhagalpur jail on 10 September, 2016. It was at that point of time that Shahabuddin had said that Lalu Prasad was his leader and ‘Nitish Kumar is a situational chief minister…circumstances had made him the CM’. It needs to be stated that Nitish Kumar was then leading the Grand Alliance government with the support of RJD and Congress.

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