Gupteshwar Pandey, the former police chief of Bihar, has joined the ruling Janata Dal United ahead of the elections. Large gatherings being banned in view of the coronavirus pandemic, the small induction ceremony took place at the official residence of Chief Minister Nitish Kumar this evening. Photos from the event showed a handful of leaders -- including Assembly Speaker Vijay Singh, JDU's acting president Ashok Choudhary, and Lok Sabha leader Lalan Singh -- smiling for cameras.
At a press conference held later at the party office, Mr Pandey said he would be a "disciplined soldier of the party" and it is up to party how it utilises him. Asked about the buzz on his contensting elections, Mr Pandey that too, was the party's call. There was speculation that he might contest from from Sahpur in Buxar district.
"I was called by CM himself and asked to join. Whatever the party asks me to do, I will do. I don't understand politics. I am a simple person who has spent his time working for the downtrodden section of society," Mr Pandey told media.
Yesterday, the former police chief met the Chief Minister and claimed that it was just a "thank you" session. "I discussed nothing political with the Chief Minister. I have worked with him for long and, after retirement, I just wanted to thank him for his support," he had told reporters.
Mr Pandey, who quit the police post last week, had been coy about his future plans. But in an interview with NDTV, he gave a broad hint, saying "What's the harm if I join politics? Is it unconstitutional, unethical or illegal?"
"I am the people's DGP. Janta ka DGP. The junta of Buxar will decide what my next step should be, whether they want me to join politics or not... I'm a son of the soil. I have served in 34 districts," he had said.
Mr Pandey, 59, had made headlines with his role in the Sushant Rajput case, and his comment questioning "aukat (stature)" of the actor's friend Rhea Chakraborty for her remarks on Nitish Kumar.
After the Supreme Court endorsed the CBI investigation into the case recommended by the Bihar government, Mr Pandey, as police chief, had bragged that Rhea Chakraborty "does not have the aukat (stature)" to comment on the Chief Minister.
He was referring to her remarks in the top court about the Nitish Kumar government using the Sushant Rajput investigation for political capital. He later clarified that what he meant was that Rhea Chakraborty, as an accused in the case, had no right to criticise the Chief Minister.
His statements defending the Chief Minister had also drawn attention for their political nature, unusual for an IPS officer.