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Tussle in Samata Party: Nitish faction
sacks people close to Fernandes
Anand Mohan Sahay in Patna |
April 13, 2003 14:31 IST
In a major setback to Samata Party chief George Fernandes, some of his supporters in the Bihar unit of the party, including the leaders in the state legislature and the legislative council, were sacked by members of the faction headed by Union Railway Minister Nitish Kumar.
At a meeting of the state legislature party on Sunday, its leader Uma Shankar Singh and legislative council leader P K Sinha were charged with anti-party activities and expelled from the party.
Upendra Kushwaha replaced the former, while Magni Lal Mandal took P K Sinha's place in the council.
Earlier, the pro-Nitish Kumar faction in the state executive committee had passed a resolution seeking expulsion of two MPs and three legislators loyal to Fernandes accusing them of anti-party activities.
They are MPs Raghunath Jha and Brahmanand Mandal, MLAs Bhai Birendra and Ganesh Paswan, and MLC P K Sinha.
The resolution was moved by executive member and former minister Shyam Sunder Singh Dheeraj and adopted unanimously at the meeting of the executive committee.
State party convener and Rajya Sabha member Bashist Narain Singh, who chaired the meeting, told reporters that the resolution would be sent to the national leadership for prompt action after its ratification by the state council later on Sunday.
Bashist Narayan Singh said indiscipline would no longer be tolerated.
Party National General Secretary and MLA Satish Kumar said the entire state unit stood solidly behind Nitish Kumar and those showing disrespect and challenging his authority would be thrown out of the party.
"Samata party is synonymous with Nitish Kumar and those opposed to this are free to quit," he said.
Nitish Kumar has endorsed their action.
Neither Sinha nor the two MLAs loyal to Fernandes attended the executive meeting, which those present claimed was attended by almost all members, including all district unit chiefs.
Conspicuous by his absence was the legislature party leader Uma Shanker Singh, who had on Saturday announced that he would not attend the legislature party meet dubbing it as unauthorised.
Only the legislature party leader is competent to convene a meeting of legislators, he said accusing Bashist Narain Singh of overstepping his authority.
Meanwhile, reacting sharply to the state executive committee's action seeking expulsion of the two MPs and three legislators, P K Sinha asserted the meeting lacked legal and constitutional validity as Bashist Narain Singh, appointed convener to oversee organisational elections, had no authority to call meetings of important organisational bodies.
Sinha, who had filed a petition before the Election Commission against the dissolution of the executive committee by MPs loyal to Kumar, said he would apprise the Commission of the unauthorised and illegal action of the pro-Kumar faction in adopting a resolution seeking expulsion of senior MPs and MLAs.
Bhai Birendra, MLA, who also figures among those sought to be expelled, echoed similar views saying Sunday's meeting was not of the Samata Party executive but of the 'gang supporting Kumar'.
Meanwhile, the pro-Fernandes faction is holding a rally of party workers at Darbhanga in north Bihar, which they claimed was part of their endeavour to restore inner-party democracy in the face of the dictatorial handling of the organisation by Kumar.
The meeting is being attended by all the five leaders whom today's executive meet has sought to expel.
With inputs from PTI