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Nitish joins NDA, Sharad calls it betrayal of voters

JD(U) leader KC Tyagi said senior leader Sharad Yadav has every right to put forward his points of disagreement with the alliance, but he shouldn’t attend RJD chief Lalu Prasad Yadav’s programme.

india Updated: Aug 19, 2017 22:08 IST
Vijay Swaroop and Anil Kumar
Vijay Swaroop and Anil Kumar
Hindustan Times, Patna
Sharad Yadav‬,‪Janata Dal (United)‬,‪Nitish Kumar‬
Nitish Kumar with Prime Minister Narendra Modi in New Delhi on May 27, 2017.(PIB handout)

The Janata Dal (United) led by Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar embraced the National Democratic Alliance at the Centre on Saturday, widening fissures within the party as leaders opposed to the tie-up called the move a betrayal of voters.

The formal decision paved the way for the party to join Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s cabinet, four years after it walked out of the BJP-led NDA.

A resolution to rejoin the NDA was unanimously adopted at the party’s national executive meeting at Kumar’s home.

“The decision was taken following a request by BJP national president Amit Shah,” said JD(U) spokesperson KC Tyagi.

But several leaders, including former party president Sharad Yadav, are unhappy with Kumar’s “unilateral” decision to break off from the alliance with the Rashtriya Janata Dal and Congress to patch up with the BJP on July 26.

The Yadav faction held a parallel meeting named Jan Adalat at SK Memorial hall in the state capital.

The party’s founding member, who was removed as JD(U)’s Rajya Sabha leader, said the party was his and that the “grand alliance” with the RJD and Congress in Bihar is intact.

“We promised to continue this alliance for at least five years. The public gave us an opportunity … I am not happy with the alliance breaking,” he said.

His group is understood to have plans to approach the Election Commission to stake claim to the party’s “arrow” poll symbol.

“I formed the party and some people are telling me that this is not my home. People are raising questions over my intention. I wanted to attend JD(U)’s national executive but they didn’t allow me to participate and said that I don’t belong to their party,” he said.

Yadav’s remarks and action are seen as mutiny against Kumar’s leadership and he might be suspended from the party’s primary membership if he attends an RJD rally on August 27.

Tyagi said the party does not plan to take any action against Yadav, at least for now.

“But by deciding to attend the RJD rally, he will not only lose his stature and lifeline in the party but will also cross the Laxman rekha,” he warned.

Also, he reaffirmed that the party in united and alleged that rumours were being spread about fissures.

“Where is the split? Sixteen state presidents of the party attended the national executive meeting, despite the claim that the rival group had support in 14 out of 22 states where JD(U) has units. All 71 MLAs and 30 MLCs were there, so where is the split?” he asked.

The scenario outside the venue of the meeting in Patna belied his words as party workers loyal to Yadav clashed with supporters of Kumar.

Tyagi refused comments on the possibilities of JD(U) joining the Modi ministry.

“It is up to the Prime Minister and our president (Kumar) to take a decision on joining the Union cabinet,” he said, adding that no post has been offered to the JD(U).

The party is likely to get two berths in the Modi ministry despite having only two members in the Lok Sabha.

It has seven parliamentarians in the Rajya Sabha after two members – Yadav and Ali Anwar – distanced themselves from the party.

The JD(U) executive ratified Kumar’s decision to walk away from the three-party grand alliance over corruption charges in the Lalu Prasad-led RJD.

First Published: Aug 19, 2017 13:50 IST