JD(U) split ahead? Sharad Yadav faces the heat from party before visit across Bihar

A split within Janata Dal United could be on the cards, with the party distancing itself from Sharad Yadav, who will be in Bihar for his two-day public interaction programme, which will commence from Thursday.

Yadav had congratulated Congress' Ahmed Patel after Tuesday's victory in Gujarat Rajya Sabha polls and soon after, JD(U) sacked Yadav's confidante as the general secretary.

On Wednesday morning, Yadav took to Twitter to congratulate the Congress veteran on his victory. In response, Patel thanked Yadav for his support throughout his campaign.

Patel won his seat to Rajya Sabha by a single vote on Tuesday. JD(U)'s Chhotubhai Vasava, a tribal leader of South Gujarat, said he voted for the Congress as the ruling BJP had done little for the tribal people and the poor in the last 20 years. He also said that the move was against his party chief and Chief Minister Nitish Kumar's decision to join hands with the BJP in Bihar.

The JD(U) MLA's claim came at a time when the party has forged ties with the BJP in Bihar to form government.

File photo of Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar and JD(U) leader Sharad Yadav. PTI

File photo of Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar and JD(U) leader Sharad Yadav. PTI

Within the next few hours of Vasava's claim, JD(U) expelled Arun Srivastava, who is Yadav's close confidante, from the post of party general secretary for "unauthorisedly" writing to the Returning Officer of Gujarat Assembly appointing an election agent for the crucial Rajya Sabha election. A letter to this effect was served to Srivastava by KC Tyagi.

"The party president (Nitish) has taken a serious note of the issue and has relieved you of your responsibility from the post of general secretary," Tyagi said in his letter to Srivastav. "The act of yours not only amounts to anti-party activity, breach of discipline but is also treachery," Tyagi said in the letter.

JD(U) unit presidents from at least 14 states have written to Nitish, raising questions over the manner in which he announced the decision to “break the alliance based on secularism”, The Indian Express reported. They also demanded a “collective decision” on the issue. Vasava was among those who wrote the letters.

Yadav, who was the JD(U) chief for years before Nitish took over, has called the new Bihar alliance a betrayal of the people's mandate in the Bihar Assembly elections two years ago. Yadav was displeased with Nitish's decision taken without consulting senior party leaders at a time when Opposition unity was to be strengthened. "Sharad Yadav felt ignored and is likely to take a final stand soon," a JD(U) leader told IANS.

Turning away from Yadav's state-wide visit, the JD(U) has dubbed it as Yadav's personal initiative.

JD(U) spokesperson Neeraj Kumar said that the former Union minister, will be visiting Bihar in his personal capacity. "Yadav is not visiting Bihar on JD(U) invitation. So, where is the question of the party at all?," he said.

Yadav will begin his visit to seven districts, including Patna, Muzaffarpur, Samastipur, Supaul, and Madhepura. According to a JD(U) MLC, Yadav will "meet party leaders and workers loyal to him to know their stand and read the political situation carefully before taking any decision."

The tensions within the JD(U) have been building up for months. As he worked his way to revive his partnership with the BJP, Nitish's support for Prime Minister Narendra Modi's big reforms like demonetisation and GST rollout was not received well by Yadav.

Yadav is likely to continue working closely with Opposition parties like Lalu Prasad's RJD and the Congress, attacking Nitish and the BJP. Similar to Nitish's detour to the BJP, an ally he had earlier parted ways with in 2014, Sharad Yadav does not seem too keen to continue with the current ruling alliance in Bihar. They had split in 1997 after Lalu Yadav was charged in the fodder scam.

With inputs from agencies

Updated Date: Aug 10, 2017 12:46 PM

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