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Nitish Kumar’s partyman Sabir Ali expelled from party for praising Narendra Modi

Sabir Ali, one of the most prominent Muslim faces of Nitish Kumar’s Janata Dal (United)

File picture of Sabir Ali.

Patna: Sabir Ali, one of the most prominent Muslim faces of Nitish Kumar’s Janata Dal (United), was today expelled from the party for praising Narendra Modi, the BJP’s prime ministerial candidate.

There are indications that he may follow in on the footsteps of his erstwhile party colleague NK Singh, who too had been denied a renomination to the Rajya Sabha in January, and join the BJP.

The two JD(U) leaders, along with their party’s former national spokesman Shivanand Tiwari, were thwarted in their bid to get a second term in the Rajya Sabha.

Mr Kumar, the JD(U)’s de-facto boss, asked them to contest the Lok Sabha polls instead. While Mr Singh and Mr Tiwari turned down the offer, Mr Ali accepted the deal, and was declared as the JD(U) candidate from Sheohar.

But Mr Ali, 58, has forced a change in the JD(U) script by singing encomiums about the Gujarat chief minister, whose elevation as the BJP’s prime ministerial candidate was used by Mr Kumar to terminate his party’s 17-year-old alliance with the BJP last year. “Mr Modi’s policies (in Gujarat) are good and his work for development is also laudable,” Mr Ali told reporters in Patna.

The retaliation was swift. Within hours, JD(U) spokesman KC Tyagi announced that Mr Ali had been expelled from the party for indulging in “anti-party activities.”

Sources in the JD(U) suspect that Mr Ali may have been persuaded by Mr Singh to switch sides, days after being announced as the party’s candidate from the Sheohar Lok Sabha seat.

Mr Singh, 73, had only last week quit the JD(U) and joined the BJP after blaming the Bihar chief minister for “shifting his focus from governance and development to survival” after ending his party’s ties with the BJP.

Mr Ali had entered Rajya Sabha in 2008 as a nominee of Ram Vilas Paswan’s Lok Janshkati Party, but had defected to the JD(U) in November, 2011.

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