Election Commission’s sword hangs over Bihar DGP

Gupteshwar Pandey with Swami Padam Priyam (Courtesy: Social Media)

As the poll bugle has been sounded, all eyes are set on the Bihar DGP Gupteshwar Pandey who is likely to get marching orders soon. If Pandey is removed, he has only himself to blame because he is seen too close to the BJP. A Kar Sevak in khaki, his critics describe Pandey.

Gupteshwar Pandey, a native of Buxar, is a 1987 batch IPS officer. Recently, he was ticked off publicly by none other than Sushasan Babu for hogging too much media limelight. Pandey is junior to Rakesh Mishra, a 1986 batch officer. Mishra was leading the race when suddenly Gupteshwar overtook him and became the DGP. It is whispered in the corridors of power that JDU Vice President Prashant Kishor Pandey is instrumental in Gupteshwar’s elevation. Both the Pandeys are Brahmins from Buxar!

Gupteshwar Pandey has often courted controversies. In 2009, he suddenly took voluntary retirement from the IPS, allegedly to contest Lok Sabha poll on the BJP ticket from Buxar. When he was denied ticket, he rejoined the IPS despite then Home Secretary’s strong objections.

Gupteshwar flaunts his Brahmin identity unabashedly. He sports a big “choti” (a pigtail), a very unusual thing for a top cop. He is a seasoned player of the temple politics. Pandey heads two temple trusts in Bihar: the Garibnath Temple Trust in Muzaffarpur and the Hariharnath Temple Trust in Sonepur. His younger brother Shrikant Pratyush, a Patna-based journalist is in-charge of Gupteshwar’s media management.

Gupteshwar is also known for his proximity to Swami Padam Priyam, a self-styled godman popularly known as the Pistol Baba for his interest in firearms. Recently, a video went viral in which Gupteshwar was telling people that he was the DGP, thanks to Bihar Minister Shravan Kumar’s blessings. According to sources, non-BJP parties are soon expected to petition the Election Commission for Pandey’s removal. Meanwhile, Pandey has been lobbying hard to save his chair.

In Bihar, elections will be conducted in seven phases. It will begin on April 11 and will complete on May 19. Result will be declared on May 23.

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