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Sanjay Paswan quits BJP

By Our Special Correspondent

NEW DELHI, AUG. 19 . In a setback to the BJP in Bihar ahead of the Assembly elections, Dalit leader and former Union Minister Sanjay Paswan today quit the party faulting the BJP's handling of the Gujarat issue and accusing its leadership of "insulting" the minorities and the Dalits.

Mr. Paswan, who resigned a day after another former Union Minister, Nagmani quit the party, said in a letter to the BJP president, M. Venkaiah Naidu, that the immediate provocation for his step was the Supreme Court's order to reopen 2000 Gujarat riots cases.

He said senior BJP leaders, including Atal Bihari Vajpayee and Shahnawaz Hussain, had expressed their views against the Gujarat Chief Minister, Narendra Modi, from time-to-time and held the riots responsible for the poll debacle.

"But because of the so-called discipline, these leaders decided not to pursue the matter for their own good," he said.

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