Patna: Parveen Amanullah, a 55-year-old Bihar minister, dealt a severe blow to Chief Minister Nitish Kumar today by resigning not only from the state government but also from the Janata Dal (United).
"I don't want to divulge the reason why I have resigned. My work in the ministry is over. I can't be a babysitter anymore,'' Ms Amanullah told reporters in Patna. She said she planned to return to the field of social service.
But she did not rule out the possibility of joining another party. "The system has limitations and I could not work around it. I will look if there is a better system anywhere, perhaps another party," she said.
Daughter of former Lok Sabha MP Syed Shahabuddin and wife of a senior Bihar-cadre IAS officer who is at present on deputation at the Centre, Ms Amanullah was drafted into politics by Mr Kumar's JD(U) after she had built a reputation as an intrepid social worker. The chief minister offered her a ticket on the eve of the 2010 assembly polls.
She accepted the challenge and won comfortably from Sahebpur Kamal, defeating a powerful candidate from Lalu Prasad's Rashtriya Janata Dal and former minister Shri Narayan Yadav.
Ms Amanullah was among two Muslim women who won on the JD(U) platform. Nitish Kumar rewarded her with a berth in his council of ministers.
Her resignation will not just be an embarrassment but a cause for concern.
Mr Kumar's electoral plans are largely predicated on expanding his party's social base by assiduously wooing the minorities. Last year, he booted the BJP out of a 17-year-old alliance when the party elevated Narendra Modi, mainly because he felt that association would hamper efforts at consolidating the considerable Muslim votes in the state.
But he now has to contend with Lalu Prasad Yadav's RJD stitching a pre-poll deal with Rahul Gandhi's Congress, Ram Vilas Paswan's Lok Janshakti Party and the NCP. The four-party alliance has emerged as a strong alternative for Muslims voters, who comprise about 14 per cent of the electorate in Bihar.