Grunts in JD(U) over Rewarding Turncoats
The crisis in the JD(U) appears to have deepened further with a host of senior party leaders, including some ministers, MPs and legislators on Thursday openly flaying the recent move by the party leadership to award tickets to turncoats, who had recently joined the party with the sole aim of contesting in the Lok Sabha polls. And the JD(U)leaders, who were upset with the red carpet rolled out to the recent entrants, had called on JD(U)national chief Sharad Yadav to convey their protest.
According to reports, Sharad himself did not take kindly to the names of the candidates and tore up the list before abruptly leaving for New Delhi. And it was only after much persuasion that he agreed to return here. Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh, who has been demanding the constitution of a Parliamentary Board at the earliest for awarding tickets to eligible candidates, said,“New entrants to the party are welcome, but rewarding them instantly with tickets is not a healthy trend.” In fact, the JD(U)is the only party which does not have a Parliamentary Board for choosing the candidates.
“There is no dearth of good candidates in the party,” said senior minister Brishen Patel. And he urged the party top brass to seek the opinion of senior state and district-level leaders. JD(U)MPs Vishwa Mohan Kumar and Ashwamedh Devi, representing Supaul and Ujjiarpur respectively, have openly come out against Chief Minister Nitish Kumar for ignoring committed party workers in the selection of the candidates. Similarly, senior MLAs like Neeraj Kumar Bablu and Gyanendra Singh Gyanu, who are seen as members of Nitish’s inner circle,have also expressed their displeasure over the manner in which the party workers are being overlooked in the interests of the newcomers.
“It is a pity that we can’t find eight candidates despite being in power for last eight years in the state,” said a senior party leader. Another senior party leader and Member of the Legislative Council(MLC), Mahachandra Singh himself announced his candidature from the Maharajgunj seat. It was the entry of RJD leaders like Shakuni Chaudhary, Abu Qaiser and others, which triggered the open revolt in the JD(U)ranks.
Last week, Nitish had announced the candidature of filmmaker Prakash Jha, Baidyanath Mahto Awanish Kumar Singh and Anil Kumar during his ‘sankalp yatra’. With the exception of Mahto, the other three candidates had joined the JD(U) recently.
The JD(U) is also expected to oblige Raghvendra Pratap Singh, an RJD rebel. The large-scale resentmentin the JD(U)ranks against the move to accommodate the party-hoppers has put Nitish in a tight spot.