Sharad Yadav hints at split: ‘Nitish in sarkari JD(U), I am with people’s JD(U)’
Senior Janata Dal (United) leader Sharad Yadav, miffed with Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar’s move to ally with the BJP, has embarked on a three-day tour of the state to connect with the people.Updated: Aug 10, 2017 23:18 IST
Patna Former Janata Dal (United) president Sharad Yadav indicated a possible split in the party on Thursday, openly defying Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar to say he wasn’t happy with the decision to sink the Grand Alliance government and seek support from the BJP.
Talking to reporters in Sonepur, Sharad Yadav said he would go to the people to ‘study the situation’ and share their anguish, roughly two weeks after Nitish resigned during a high-voltage tussle with erstwhile alliance partner Rashtriya Janata Dal over corruption allegations.
“Sarkari log nai party mein shamil ho gaye (People in government have joined a new party). The sarkari (government-led) JD(U) is being run by Nitish Kumar and I am with the JD(U), which has the support of people of Bihar,” he said on his way to Muzaffarpur for the first of a series of meetings.
The JD(U) leader and Rajya Sabha MP declared that he was still with the Grand Alliance of the RJD and the Congress. “I still stand with Mahagathbandhan (Grand Alliance) that was given a mandate by 11 crore people in Bihar in the 2015 assembly polls to rule for five years,” Yadav said soon after his arrival at Patna airport from Delhi this afternoon.
RJD chief Lalu Prasad on Wednesday had extended wholehearted support to Yadav’s visit and said he (Sharad) was the ‘real JD(U), stoking talks of an imminent split.
Yadav’s visit to state, his first since the JD(U) broke away from the Grand Alliance to form a new government with the BJP, has sparked talks of a possible division in the JD(U).
“The disintegration of Grand Alliance government in Bihar has broken the trust of 11 crore citizens of the state,” Yadav said, pointing out the competing manifestoes that the Grand Alliance and the BJP-led NDA had put during the 2015 polls. “It’s for the first time in history of the country that the two manifestos of rival groupings have mingled.”
Sharad Yadav is said to be upset with Nitish’s dramatic switch that came after weeks of tussle over graft charges against Lalu and his son Tejashwi, also the deputy chief minister. The fall of the Grand Alliance government was seen as a huge blow for opposition unity, and many in Bihar feel that Nitish Kumar betrayed the popular mandate, which overwhelmingly backed the Grand Alliance over the saffron coalition in 2015.
Sharad Yadav, who will visit eight to ten assembly constituencies during the next three days, said he would meet people to discuss the repercussions of the withdrawal of the grand alliance in the state.
“I was one of those who asked the people to vote for the Grand Alliance. I consider it a responsibility to maintain my stand. The people are hurt by recent happenings,” he said.
Yadav’s show of defiance has triggered speculation that the party may take action against him, but a spokesperson rejected the suggestion. “All talks of split and action against Yadav are wrong,” said party spokesperson Neeraj Kumar. Yadav refused to comment on the issue.
Earlier, Yadav arrived on three day visit to Bihar on Thursday morning. Surprisingly enough, none of the JD(U) legislators close to Yadav were there to receive him at Patna airport. Only two JD(U) leaders – Ramai Ram and Rambadan Rai (a former RJD legislator) - and a fairly large number of supporters, said to be from the RJD, welcomed him. Both Ram and Rai had lost the last assembly election. Even on way to Muzaffarpur, he was received by Sonepur RJD MLA and other RJD leaders at different places.
The presence of Ramai Ram at the airport triggered unease in the party leadership, sources said, with JD(U) Muzaffarpur district president recommending action against him. Party sources said that JD(U) state president sought a report on leaders who had gone to meet Yadav at the airport.
The JD(U), which distanced itself from Yadav’s visit, called it a “RJD-sponsored yatra.” “Not even a panchayat pramukh was present to welcome him,” a JD(U) spokesperson said.
MAKING A POINT Says disintegration of GA government has broken trust of 11 crore people; it’s for the first time in history of the country that the two manifestos of rival groupings (BJP-JDU in 2015) have mingled
I was one of those who asked people to vote for the alliance. I consider it a responsibility to maintain my stand. People are hurt by recent happenings
Sharad Yadav, former JD(U) chief