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Mukesh Sahani sacked from Nitish Kumar cabinet

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Patna, Mar 26: Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar on Sunday sacked Mukesh Sahani, the minister for fisheries and animal husbandry, from his cabinet, highly placed sources said here.

Mukesh Sahani

According to highly placed sources, Kumar recommended Sahani's expulsion from the cabinet to the Governor in the evening, after a written submission to the effect by the BJP, hours after the minister for fishery and animal husbandry was given the ultimatum to withdraw forthwith a recent notification.

State BJP spokesman Arvind Kumar Singh said in a statement "our Bihar unit chief had asked Sahani, who seems hell-bent upon stabbing those in the back who healed his wounds, to mend his ways. But he did not. He brought in a notification which had greatly angered the 'machhuara' (fishermen) community in whose name he had sought to build his political edifice".

Sahani, a former Bollywood set designer, had entered the BJP's bad books after he repeatedly attacked Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath while campaigning for assembly elections in the adjoining state where his party contested more than 50 seats but sunk without a trace.

A self-proclaimed leader of the fishermen's community who uses the nickname "Son of Mallah", Manjhi had twisted the knife by fielding candidates against a number of BJP nominees in elections for 24 legislative council seats.

The BJP struck back, fielding its own candidate for by-poll in Bochahan assembly segment which has fallen vacant upon the death of a VIP MLA, and left Sahani blindsided last week when it wrested all the remaining three assembly members who had won on tickets of the fledgling party.

Formerly with the RJD-led Grand Alliance, Sahani had quit the opposition camp after elections were announced, accusing Tejashwi Yadav of giving him a raw deal. A meeting with Union Home Minister Amit Shah in Delhi was followed by his entry into the NDA.

His party won four seats even though Sahani himself lost, but the BJP, which has been working to win over OBCs and shedding its "pro-upper caste" label, helped him clinch a cabinet berth and facilitated the same by getting him elected to the legislative council.

Recently, Sanjay Jaiswal had also claimed that Sahani had been asked to merge his party with the BJP within six months of the 2020 elections but the VIP chief reneged on the promise as ambition got the better of him.

However, Sahani has denied having struck such a deal and claimed that the terms and conditions of his entry into NDA were known only to Shah.

The current crisis has brought in trouble for the greenhorn politician who had floated his party barely four years ago. Parties opposed to the NDA seem reluctant to accommodate the volatile Sahani.

In July, his legislative council term expires, and with no political formation of significance ready to back him Sahani risks losing his membership of the legislature barely a few months after his expulsion from the government.

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