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21 JD(U) leaders close to Sharad Yadav suspended for ‘anti-party activities’

Repercussions of Nitish Kumar’s decision to return to the NDA is beginning to haunt the Janata Dal (U) which is now staring at a vertical split in the party.

india Updated: Aug 14, 2017 23:20 IST
Vijay Swaroop
Vijay Swaroop
Hindustan Times, Patna
JD(U),Suspensions,Nitish Kumar
The JD(U)’s decision to suspend 21 supporters of Sharad Yadav for ‘anti-party’ activities has deepened the fault lines in the party.(PTI)

Nitish Kumar-led JD(U) suspended 21 partymen close to former president Sharad Yadav on Monday, deepening the crisis in the ruling party days before the chief minister-led faction joins the NDA formally, against the wishes of the Yadav section.

JD(U) Bihar president Bashistha Narayan Singh suspended former minister Ramai Ram, former Sitamarhi MP Arjun Rai, former Vaishali MLA Raj Kishore Sinha and former MLC (Madhepura) Vijay Verma for “anti-party activities”.The list also includes the names of two district presidents and five block-level presidents.

All the suspended belong to north Bihar districts and are said to be close to Yadav. The decision to suspend them from primary membership was taken after they continued to support to Yadav during his three-day Jan Samvad Yatra.

Yadav said the suspended members were “loyal party workers”. The JD-U faction led by CM Kumar would “lose the count of partymen they will have to suspend if he tours entire Bihar”, he told IANS.

The action has set off speculation that suspension of the former president was just a matter of time.

Yadav was also backed by Lalu Prasad’s RJD during his four-day stay in Bihar. Ramai Ram was one of the few JD(U) leaders who accompanied Yadav on this trip.

On Saturday, the JD(U) removed Yadav as its leader in the Rajya Sabha after he continued to oppose the party’s decision to ally with the BJP in Bihar. Yadav was replaced by RCP Singh, a trusted aide of chief minister Nitish Kumar.

Earlier on Friday, the party had suspended its Rajya Sabha member Ali Anwar Ansari from the parliamentary party for attending a meeting of opposition parties convened by Congress president Sonia Gandhi.

Read more: Amid signs of imminent action against Sharad, his faction to claim it is ‘real’ JD (U)

Differences between Kumar and Yadav surfaced after the former snapped ties with the Congress and the RJD, and allied with the BJP to form a new government in Bihar last month. Yadav had maintained that he is a part of the Grand Alliance with the RJD and the Congress.

“The JD(U) is not just Nitish Kumar’s party, but also mine,” he had said and had claimed that “the real JD(U)” was with him and the one with Kumar was “sarkari” (government).

Meanwhile, Yadav’s camp is also gearing up to take action against Kumar and has claimed the support of 14 of 17 state presidents.

The Yadav faction has called a national convention in Delhi on August 17, two days before Kumar is scheduled to formally join the NDA. Among the issues that are likely to be discussed at the national convention include claiming the JD(U)’s election symbol.

The Nitish-led group would be meeting on August 19 to announce its decision to join the NDA as the 29th party and it is assumed that the JD(U) will suspend Yadav on the same day. Kumar is also likely to be nominated the co-convenor of the NDA at the national level.

First Published: Aug 14, 2017 16:03 IST