Former Bihar excise minister Jamshed Ashraf, former state Nationalist Congress Party president Aquil Haider, and Janata Dal (Secular) state president Shravan Kumar Choudhry were among several high-profile leaders who joined the Congress party in Bihar on Sunday.
Ashraf was sacked from the ruling Janata Dal (United)-BJP coalition government in February for raking up a Rs 500-crore scam in the state excise department.
“I am happy at my homecoming, but also sad for the four-and-a-half years spent in the company of corrupt people. The chief minister wears many masks, one of them of being an honest and clean person. But he preferred to save corrupt officials at the cost of the one who blew the whistle,” Ashraf said.
He was speaking at the Milan Samaroh organised by the Bihar Pradesh Congress Committee at the Bharatiya Nritya Kala Mandir here.
The entry of the former JD(U) leader into the Congress has drawn the battle lines for the upcoming assembly elections, said Union minister and the Congress party’s Bihar in-charge Mukul Wasnik.
“Today, the chief minister (Nitish Kumar) is engaged in a fierce competition with (RJD chief) Lalu Prasad to leave him behind on corruption in various departments. People want to know where the money coming from the Centre for their welfare is going,” Wasnik said.
NCP leader Haider said that throughout his life he remained rooted in the Congress culture. “I am happy to correct my emotional mistake of leaving the party,” he said.