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JD(U) rift: Nitish-Sharad face-off likely at parallel meets

The event is expected to be attended by several Opposition parties as a show of strength.

india Updated: Aug 17, 2017 00:15 IST
Srinand Jha
Srinand Jha
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
Janata Dal (United),JD(U),Sharad Yadav
Sharad Yadav at the Parliament House in New Delhi, on August 2, 2017. (Sushil Kumar/ Hindustan Times)

A faceoff between Nitish Kumar and Sharad Yadav factions of the Janata Dal (United) appears inevitable, with the party’s founder president — seen as the leader of the party’s rebel faction — deciding to convene a Sajha Virasat Bachao Sammelan (save composite culture conclave) in New Delhi on Thursday.

While it is likely that the official party faction will take a decision to suspend Yadav for his “anti-party activities” at a meeting of its national executive in Patna on August 19, the rebel faction has convened a parallel convention on the same day in the same city.

Last Monday, the JD(U) suspended 21 party men on charges of having attended rallies addressed by Yadav during his recent tour of Bihar. The action set off speculation that suspension of the former president was just a matter of time.

Meanwhile, Thursday’s meeting is likely to be attended by Opposition leaders including Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi, CPM general secretary Sitaram Yechury, CPI leader D Raja, among others.

Samajwadi Party (SP) chief Akhilesh Yadav has reportedly expressed inability to attend, but is likely to depute senior party leader Ram Gopal Yadav for the event. Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) leader Mayawati is also likely to send a representative.

The JD (U) rebels are also planning to approach the Election Commission to lay claims over the party’s election symbol (arrow).

“The JD(U) is not Kumar’s alone, it’s mine as well. They (the Kumar faction) represent the “sarkari” JD (U), while we are the real JD(U),” Yadav had recently said.

Differences between Kumar and Yadav surfaced after the former snapped ties with the Congress and RJD, and allied with the BJP to form a new government in Bihar last month. “Apart from the Opposition leaders, the meet will be attended by intellectuals, farmers, unemployed youth, Dalits and tribals,” Yadav said.

First Published: Aug 16, 2017 15:05 IST