Patna: Bihar Director General of Police (DGP) Gupteshwar Pandey, who opted for voluntary retirement from service (VRS) Tuesday, is all set to enter politics finally, and could also contest the upcoming assembly elections in the state.
Asked if he would enter the poll fray from Buxar seat, his hometown, the outspoken IAS officer told ThePrint: “Maybe. I have resigned and I will take a decision on my future.”
Pandey denied suggestions that his actions related to the FIR lodged in Patna, in connection with the death of Bollywood actor Sushant Singh Rajput, had anything to do with him joining politics.
“The two are entirely different things. What I did was for justice to Sushant Singh Rajput,” he said. “It was the demand of the people of Bihar and his family members. My actions were upheld by the Supreme Court.”
This, however, isn’t the first time that the 1987-batch IPS officer has quit to try his luck in politics. Pandey is hesitant to declare that he will contest because of his experience in 2009 when he applied for voluntary retirement in the anticipation that he would get the BJP ticket from the Buxar parliamentary seat. But when the BJP stuck to its old warhorse, the late Lalmuni Choubey, Chief Minister Nitish Kumar saved him by reversing his resignation.
Pandey had held meeting with JD(U) workers
Just two days before his VRS was accepted Tuesday, Pandey had held a closed-door meeting with JD(U) workers in Buxar. When local media asked him if he would contest the assembly polls, Pandey declared that he felt hassled by the question and described his meeting with the ruling party workers as an “informal” one.
Two days later, however, news broke that Pandey had resigned — he had just about five months left in his tenure. A notification to this effect was issued by the Bihar home department late Tuesday evening, stating that Pandey’s request for voluntary retirement from service (VRS) had been accepted.
Speculation that he will contest the Bihar assembly polls — expected to be held between October and November — has strengthened as Pandey’s request for VRS was accepted within 24 hours of him handing it to the government.
“Normally, an officer has to give a three months’ notice to take VRS. But in this case, the VRS has been accepted in just 24 hours,” said an IPS officer, who did not want to be named.
Pandey had been in national focus after he pursued an FIR lodged by Sushant’s father, K.K. Singh, and had sent a police team to Mumbai to investigate the matter — a move that triggered a verbal duel between the Bihar and the Maharashtra police departments.
Might contest on JD(U) ticket
Pandey has never hidden his political ambition but he has been evasive about his timing.
The gusto with which he took on the Sushant Singh Rajput case had local politicians speculating that he would join politics finally.
“I will not deny that I might join politics but this is not the time,” he had told the media at the height of the Sushant Singh Rajput controversy. He has now earned the reputation in Bihar as the driving force behind the CBI taking over the actor’s death case, a demand made by all political parties in the election-bound state.
Buxar, from where he is likely to contest, is dominated by Brahmins, his community, and Rajputs, the community Sushant Singh belonged to.
BJP leaders in Bihar said Pandey is likely to contest on a JD(U) ticket. “In recent times, Pandey has been more close to the JD(U) than the BJP. Had he sought retirement to contest on a BJP ticket, CM Nitish Kumar would not have speeded up the resignation process,” said a senior BJP leader, who did not wish to be named.
“He has not talked with BJP leaders in Bihar for a ticket. Apparently Nitish has talked to PM Modi and the PM has given a green signal. Pandey may contest from Buxar or Shahpur on a JD(U) ticket.”
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