The Janata Dal (United) has expelled election strategist Prashant Kishor and former diplomat Pavan Varma from the party, media reports said. Both leaders were at loggerheads with the party over its position on the Citizenship Amendment Act and the JD(U)-BJP alliance outside of Bihar.
While Kishor was the vice-president of the JD(U), Varma was the party's general secretary. According to ANI, both have been expelled for "anti-party activities".
Shortly after the announcement, Kishor responded on Twitter saying —
Thank you @NitishKumar. My best wishes to you to retain the chair of Chief Minister of Bihar. God bless you.🙏🏼
— Prashant Kishor (@PrashantKishor) January 29, 2020
Varma, on his part, was quoted as saying to ANI, "I congratulate Nitish Kumar ji for removing all the obstacles and impediments from his path in his pursuit of short term political gain. This pursuit is clearly now completely without any fidelity or loyalty to ideology. He (Nitish Kumar) can now achieve his short-term political goals, including possibly that of the chief ministership of Bihar, without any reference to the party's constitution, his own ideological views of which he has spoken repeatedly in past and directions and actions of his ally BJP."
Thank you Nitish Kumar ji for freeing me from my increasingly untenable position of defending you and your policies. I wish you well in your ambition of being CM of Bihar at any cost.
— Pavan K. Varma (@PavanK_Varma) January 29, 2020
Varma and Kishor's expulsion from the JD(U) comes a day after Kishor directly lashed out at party chief and Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar for saying that he was inducted into the party at the instance of Union Home Minister and the then BJP chief Amit Shah. He had said:
.@NitishKumar what a fall for you to lie about how and why you made me join JDU!! Poor attempt on your part to try and make my colour same as yours!
And if you are telling the truth who would believe that you still have courage not to listen to someone recommended by @AmitShah?
— Prashant Kishor (@PrashantKishor) January 28, 2020
Kishor has been rankling the BJP for quite some time, questioning his own party's decision to support the Citizenship Amendment Bill (now an Act) in the Parliament and insisting that the JD(U) contest a significantly higher number of seats than the saffron party in the Assembly polls in Bihar due later this year.
Varma, too, had sought "ideological clarity" from Kumar over the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA), proposed National Register of Citizens and the National Population Register (NPR).
While Kumar has said that there is no justification for a nationwide NRC, and on Tuesday even urged the Centre to drop the new columns in the NPR form, the JD(U) voted in favour of the CAA in the Rajya Sabha.
On 21 January, Varma had also written to Kumar, questioning the latter's decision to ally with the BJP outside of Bihar — in Delhi. He had further said in his letter, "I remember your confessing to me in private how the current leadership in the BJP party humiliated you. You had maintained, on more than one occasion, that the BJP is leading India into a 'dangerous space'. It was your personal view, as conveyed to me, that the BJP is destroying institutions, and that there is a need for democratic and socialist forces to regroup, a task for which you actually assigned a senior party official."
This is the letter I have written to @NitishKumar today asking him how the JD(U) has formed an alliance with the BJP for the Delhi elections, given his own views on the BJP, and the massive national outrage against the divisive CAA-NPR-NRC scheme. pic.twitter.com/ErSynnuiYm
— Pavan K. Varma (@PavanK_Varma) January 21, 2020
With inputs from PTI
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Updated Date: Jan 29, 2020 23:56:46 IST