Bihar ex-minister joins Cong

Ashraf as a minister had expressed his reservations over the functioning of the excise department and sought a vigilance/CBI probe into the financial irregularities worth Rs 500 crore. Nitish not only rejected his demand for a probe but also showed him the door in February last.

On Sunday, Ashraf in the presence of Union Ministers Salman Khurshid and Mukul Wasnik joined the Congress.

“I feel ashamed of being part of the Janata Dal (United) and also being a member of Nitish’s ministerial team for the last four and a half years,” said Ashraf.

“Nitish Kumar is wearing masks of different shades. One can’t make out how and why he is giving protection to those who indulge in corrupt practices, and gives the boot to those who raise the issue of graft,” he said.

Wasnik hit out at the Bihar chief minister for constantly blaming the Centre for step-motherly treatment to the state.

“If 92 quintals of food grains are carried on scooter for flood victims, then imagine what kind of scam is going on here.  Is this precisely why Nitish keeps on asking for more Central assistance? And how different is he from Lalu who was involved in fodder scam,” wondered the Union minister, who is also in-charge of Bihar affairs.

Meanwhile, the Sharad Pawar-led Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) suffered a severe setback when former Bihar NCP chief Aquil Haider, along with his supporters, joined the Congress here on Sunday.

Haider is incidentally the brother-in-law of Pawar’s confidant and Rajya Sabha member Tariq Anwar.

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