The Janata Dal (United) seems to be heading for a split. Refused tickets, founder-members and senior party leaders George Fernandes and Digvijay Singh have already decided to contest as Independents, and on Sunday, two Bihar ministers sent in their resignations to Chief Minister Nitish Kumar.
Bihar agriculture minister Nagmani resigned after his name did not figure in the list of 25 candidates released by party chief Sharad Yadav in New Delhi on Sunday. The CM accepted his resignation.
Minister of State for Disaster management Nitish Mishra, son of former Chief Minister, Jagannath Mishra, said he was quitting because he felt ignored by the party.
Lallan Paswan, MLA from Chenari, too, decided to left the JD (U) late in the evening. His grouse: Chief Minister Nitish Kumar “is anti-Dalit and anti-workers. I had wanted to do this earlier”.
“The party is headed for a vertical split. I’m going to resign from the Rajya Sabha and the party and will contest as an Independent from Banka,” Digvijay Singh told the Hindustan Times over the phone from New Delhi.
The party will contest 25 of the 40 Lok Sabha seats in Bihar.
Fernandes will contest from Muzaffarpur as an Independent, Singh said. The party has fielded Jai Narain Nishad from there.
“Wait for some time, more party members will switch over to our side,” he said.
Blaming the leadership for crisis, Singh said, “These people have made up their mind to break the party. What can I do? They have compelled me to leave.”
Nagmani, who also served as minister in the Vajpayee government at the Centre, wanted the Ujiarpur seat, carved after delimitation exercise, either for himself or his wife Suchitra Sinha, an MLA and a former Bihar minister.
Nagmani is a party hopper — joined the JD (U) ahead of October 2005 assembly polls; had been with the Lok Janshakti Party and the Congress earlier.
Party’s state chief Rajiv Ranjan Singh ruled out a split and said the resignations would strengthen the party.
“In the entire history of our party, every time a member has resigned, the party has emerged stronger,” he said.