Axed JD(U) leader claims Sharad Yadav has support of 20 MLAs in Bihar but won’t split party
“In case of a split in the JD (U), their membership of the Bihar assembly will be in danger. We don’t want that to happen”, said Arun Srivastava, who was sacked as general secretary of the party’s Gujarat unit, on Tuesday.Updated: Aug 10, 2017 20:17 IST
JD(U) leader Arun Kumar Srivastava, whose role in the highly contentious Gujarat Rajya Sabha, earlier this week, led to his sacking as general secretary of the party’s unit in that state, has claimed party’s ‘dissenting’ leader Sharad Yadav enjoys the support of nearly 20 JD (U) MLAs in Bihar.
“It is true that nearly 20 legislators are with us, but in case of split in the JD (U), their membership of the Bihar legislature will be in danger. We don’t want that to happen. Time will tell who is where,” said Srivastava, who was here on Thursday, accompanying Sharad as he embarked on a tour of the state.
If the ‘nearly 20 legislators’, claimed by Srivastava to be backing Sharad, are all sitting MLAs, it is a very significant number, considering the chief minister Nitish Kumar-led JD (U) has a total of 71 MLAs in the state.
Srivastava was sacked from the post of party general secretary for “unauthorisedly” writing to the Returning Officer of the Gujarat assembly, appointing an election agent for the crucial Rajya Sabha election there.
This happened after the JD (U)’s sole MLA in Gujarat Chhotubhai Vasava said he voted for Congress candidate Ahmed Patel in the RS poll because the BJP had been looting the state for the last 20 years and he was opposed to his party chief Nitish Kumar joining hands with the BJP.
“The party president (Nitish Kumar) 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 Srivastava, considered a close confidante of Sharad Yadav.
“The act of yours not only amounts to anti-party activity, breach of discipline but is also treachery,” Tyagi said in the letter.
Srivastava appeared to defy the JD (U) official leadership by accompanying Sharad, whose open disapproval of Nitish Kumar’s action to break the grand Alliance and join hands with the BJP, has put him at odds with Kumar.
On Thursday, Srivastava hit back at the party leadership for removing him without even serving a show-cause notice. He, however, ruled out the possibility that he and Sharad Yadav might leave the party to float a new one.
“Why should we leave the JD-U? We have been involved with its creation and we will remain here. Those who feel that JD (U) is only confined to Bihar should form a new party. We will continue to work for the ideals the party was formed to serve. We will face whatever action is taken against us by the party,” he said, without elaborating his camp’s next move.
“Yes, I did openly say that breaking the alliance was not the right decision. I am a man of the JP-movement and voicing one’s opinion is no crime. Sharadji is doing the same. That is the minimum one expects in a democratic party,” he said.
Srivastava, an old war horse of the JD (U),who since the Samata Party (1994-2003) days, was always with Kumar during his nation-wide tours till a few months ago, claimed 14 state unit presidents had also categorically written to the leadership that they were not for breaking the GA.
Srivastava said he had appointed polling agents in the past also but nobody, including Sharad Yadav, had ever questioned his decision as had happened this time.
He said the decision to break ties with the BJP in 2013 was taken at the JD (U) national convention, but last month’s decision to jettison the GA and rejoin forces with the BJP was taken “unilaterally”. He also appeared to suggest Sharad was ‘misled’ into leaving the JD (U) presidentship in 2016.
“Sharadji was asked to make way for Nitishji as party president on the pretext that (RLD leader) Ajit Singh and Babulal Marandi (JVM) wanted to join us. Sharadji resigned. But look, what has happened today,” he added.