Bihar DGP who mocked Rhea Chakraborty in support of Chief Minister Nitish Kumar in Sushant Singh case joins JD(U)

Published : September 28, 2020 14:12 IST

Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar welcomes former DGP Gupteshwar Pandey to the JD(U) by presenting him the party’s membership slip in Patna on September 27. Photo: PTI

India’s political history has numerous instances of personalities from the services, including the bureaucracy, police and defence, joining different parties and participating actively in diverse streams of socio-political action, including governance. Jaswant Singh, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader who passed away on September 27, was one such leader who had moved into politics after a career in the Indian Army. On the day of the death of this former Major of the Indian Army, India witnessed yet another shift of a senior service professional to the political arena, but in a manner strikingly incongruous with the record set by stalwarts like Jaswant Singh. This was the political entry of Gupteshwar Pandey, until recently Director General of Police (DGP) in Bihar. Within five days of taking voluntary retirement (VRS), the former DGP joined the leading party of the ruling coalition in the State, the Janata Dal (United) in the presence of Chief Minister Nitish Kumar.

This event was undoubtedly a gross instance of rank political opportunism marked by many violations of administrative protocols and principles. To start with, the Nitish Kumar government waived off the three-month mandatory notice period that any senior service personnel has to undergo while taking VRS. Even as this waiver was being formalised, Gupteshwar Pandey got released a promotional video depicting him as a modern-day Robin Hood. While announcing the VRS five days ago, the former DGP said that he had no clue whether he would have a political role in the future.

However, long-term political and governance observers of Bihar were sure even on that day about Pandey’s political plans. The former DGP’s actions on different fronts, including his rather proactive involvement in the Sushant Singh Rajput suicide case, were seen as pointers by these observers. Pandey was fielded on TV channels and social media even when he was the DGP by the Nitish Kumar government. His aggressive defence of the government touched new lows when he stated that actor Rhea Chakraborty, who was also Rajput’s former girlfriend, does not have the status to question someone like Chief Minister Nitish Kumar. Evidently, the police officer was playing to the ruling party’s political gallery. Other signs of his political moves came when he launched his own YouTube channel seven months ago. He also employed a team of professionals to manage his Facebook and Twitter accounts.

Gupteshwar Pandey had made some political forays over a decade ago too, only to withdraw and come back to service. Then, too, he took VRS, announced he would contest the 2009 Lok Sabha election from Buxar. Apparently, his impression was that the BJP’s local leader Lalmuni Choubey, would make way for his candidature. This did not happen and Pandey promptly got back into service as Inspector General (IGP). Of course, this extraordinary return to the police service was facilitated by the Nitish Kumar government. Indications are that Gupteshwar Pandey would be featured in the electoral fray soon by the ruling coalition in the State, either in the forthcoming Assembly election or in one of the Lok Sabha byelections which are to take place along with the Assembly election.

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