The ongoing power tussle in the ruling Janata Dal (U) aggravated on Sunday when party president Sharad Yadav took serious exception to the remarks of ‘junior party leaders’ against senior ministers and reprimanded them.
Yadav summoned party’s Bihar unit president Bashishtha Narayan Singh to New Delhi and asked him to take “suitable action” against erring leaders to settle the issue at the earliest in the larger interest of the party.
“I have asked the state president to settle the issue and ensure that such controversies are avoided in future. During my stay in Patna, I had settled the crisis but such remarks would further confound the crisis,” he told HT.
Yadav was responding to the complaints lodged by some senior ministers owing allegiance to chief minister Jitan Ram Manjhi, alleging that they were being humiliated by juniors in the party.
Agriculture minister Narendra Singh told the party president that he and some other senior ministers were being “insulted” by junior leaders without any reckoning at the instance of some “senior” leaders out of vengeance.
On Saturday, party spokesman Ajay Alok, a new entrant in the party, had slammed agriculture minister Narendra Singh, education minister Brishen Patel and rural development minister Nitish Mishra for “betraying” former CM Nitish Kumar.
Alok had advised the three senior ministers to stop poisoning the mind of Jitan Ram Manjhi, resign as minister and join the BJP, if they wished so.
Taking strong exception to the remarks made by another par ty spokesperson Niraj Kumar against Manjhi over his visit to ex-MP Sadhu Yadav’s house, education minister Brishen Patel said that Manjhi was the tallest leader of the Dalit community.
The JD (U), he suggested, should frame its political strategy for the next assembly election keeping Manjhi at the centre of things.
“At present, Bihar politics is polarized between the BJP and JD (U)-RJD combine. In such a situation, the party or the combine garnering Dalit votes will emerge victorious in the next elections. This is why Manjhi is crucial for the party”, Patel said.
JD (U) national spokesman and Rajya Sabha MP K C Tyagi said a junior leader had no right or need to speak on senior ministers like Narendra Singh and Brishen Patel, who were the founder members of the party.
He said that such unsavoury controversies should be avoided in the larger interest of the party and unity of forces of the erstwhile Janata parivar.
“The JD (U) needs to be in a perfect shape for the total unity of the Janata Parivar. Any rift in the rank and file of the party will not be appreciated and prove detrimental for party’s future,” Tyagi said.
Amid efforts by senior leaders to settle the raging controversy, the camp followers of Nitish Kumar justified the utterances of state spokespersons saying everyone, senior or junior, has the right to express their views.
“The JD (U) believes in internal party democracy. Every leader, whether junior or senior, has right to tell the truth and express his or her views,” said consumer protection minister Shyam Rajak, who is considered close to Nitish Kumar.