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JD(U) rumblings: ‘Party likely to split if Nitish Kumar allies with BJP’

Many JD (U) leaders, unhappy with Nitish Kumar’s new equation with the BJP, could be preparing for life outside the party.

india Updated: Jul 19, 2017 21:39 IST
Srinand Jha
Srinand Jha
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
Bihar,JD(U) RJD,BJP
Many JD(U) leaders are said to be uncomfortable with Nitish Kumar’s equation with the BJP. (HT PHOTO)

A storm is brewing in the Janata Dal (United). And the catalyst is Nitish Kumar’s dalliance with the BJP.

With Bihar’s “Mahagathbandhan” (Grand Alliance) facing an uncertain future amid speculations that Kumar was reconsidering a tie-up with the BJP, sources say that sections within the JD (U) have started to chart out an independent political course for themselves.

The party’s lone MP from Kerala, Veerendra Kumar, has not only ruled out the possibility of associating with a likely decision of the party leadership to align with the BJP, he also defied the party’s official line to vote in favour of the NDA ‘s Presidential nominee Ram Nath Kovind.

Sections of JD (U) legislators – particularly those from the bordering Kosi belt – have been getting into a huddle to consider the political options. “There is little likelihood that all party legislators or workers will continue to support Kumar, in case he decides to mend ties with the saffron party. In such an eventuality, the JD (U) will split”, a senior party leader prophesized.

Senior party leaders such as Sharad Yadav are unlikely to go along with Kumar, in case of a possible decision by him to rejoin forces with the BJP, JD (U) sources hinted.

“JD (U) legislators such as Sarfaraz Alam, Mujahid Alam, Sharfuddin and Naushad Alam are unlikely to remain associated with the party, in case Kumar decides to switch horses mid-way in order to ensure the continuance of his government,” said a veteran Bihar watcher.

According to sources, half of the 12 JD (U) MPs in Parliament do not favour a tie-up with the BJP. “We expect that Kumar will display political sagacity by keeping the BJP at bay”, said Anisur Rehman of the Patna-based Imarat Shariah mosque.

Read more: Tejashwi cannot defend 26 properties to his name at age 26, says Modi

“The Bihar verdict of 2015 was for the Mahagathbandhan and not for any individual (read Kumar). His party apparatus will get dismantled, if Kumar decides to switch sides to the BJP”, said Husn Ahmed Quadri of the Patna-based Jamait Ulema.

The alliance has come under severe strain over the past few weeks following the CBI filing an FIR against Kumar’s deputy and RJD chief Lalu Prasad’s son Tejashwi Prasad Yadav in a land-for-hotels scam.

The JD(U) which at one point appeared to threaten the RJD of even ‘sacking’ Tejashwi if he was not forthcoming with his explanation on how he acquired his property and rebut the CBI’s charges, seems to have climbed down.

Tejashwi even met Kumar on Tuesday to ‘clarify’ the CBI’s charges. It was the first time the two had met alone since the CBI raided the RJD chief and his family on July 7.

The BJP which has been after Lalu Prasad and his family for alleged corruption had even said it would offer outside support to the JD(U) if Kumar severs ties with the RJD which is the largest party in the Bihar assembly.

First Published: Jul 19, 2017 11:40 IST