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After staving off dissension, JD (U) to focus on expanding its national footprints

The party’s national office bearers met JD (U) president and chief minister Nitish Kumar, here on Sunday, and were told to launch a membership drive, to expand the party in the run up to the 2019 Lok Sabha poll. 

patna Updated: Aug 20, 2017 21:31 IST
Anil Kumar
Anil Kumar
Hindustan Times, Patna
JD (U) office-bearers,Nitish Kumar,Membership drive
JD (U) president and Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar. (HT file photo)

After tasting success in weathering the first onslaught of ‘open dissension’, that too by former party president Sharad Yadav, who held a meeting parallel to the JD (U) national executive, in Patna, on Saturday, but failed to attract much support, the Nitish Kumar-led JD (U) has now set its eyes on expanding its national footprints.

The party’s national office bearers met JD (U) president and chief minister Nitish Kumar, at his official residence, here on Sunday, where they were tasked with taking up a membership drive, in a campaign mode, to tone up their presence in the run up to the 2019 Lok Sabha polls.

The decision to expand its national presence and augment membership assumes significance at a time when the party has formally decided to join the NDA and is facing a challenge from Sharad, who, backed by RJD chief Lalu Prasad and other Opposition parties, held a parallel meeting in the state capital, on Saturday.

The Sharad Yadav faction has been trying to project itself as the national body in a bid to isolate Nitish-led JD (U) as an organisation with merely state presence.

However, the presence of 16 heads of state party units, overwhelming majority of national executive committee members, all party MLAs, MLCs and Lok Sabha MPs and seven out of the nine Rajya Sabha members at Saturday meeting has shown that Sharad’s defiance has little impact.

As a spin off, the party wants to make amend on Nitish’s earlier claim that his party was small and thus not in a position to nurse national ambition. And with the strong probability of JD (U) getting two berths in the union cabinet, the party’s drive for increasing membership and footprint is a logical outcome.

While Sharad has stated that he would work for cobbling up a Bihar-like Grand Alliance at the national level, Nitish-led JD (U) is also not willing to let go any chance of playing a role in ensuring the return of NDA—the camp he has chosen to side with—after the 2019 polls.

It will be both politically correct and also a rebuff to all those “who cannot read the writing on the wall”, said an office bearer on the condition of anonymity, while confirming that the directive had come from the top brass of the party.

The chief minister had recently said that there was no leader in the Opposition camp to measure up to Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

Union minister Ram Vilas Paswan, whose Lok Janshakti Party has got a representation in the Nitish cabinet, welcomed JD (U)’s decision to join NDA saying that now there was no competition for the NDA in Bihar and the move would strengthen the alliance at the national level too.

Meanwhile, state office bearers and organisational in-charge held a meeting, chaired by state president Bashishtha Narayan Singh, to ensure greater participation of the organisation in providing succour to flood victims—a task spelt out by chief minister at the national executive.

It was decided that party should assist the administration in reaching relief to the victims in an organised manner so that no one is left out in this hour of calamity. Disaster management department minister Dinesh Chandra Yadav was also present.

First Published: Aug 20, 2017 21:31 IST