ATNA: As pressure started building from within on veteran JD(U) leader Sharad Yadav to resign from his membership of Rajya Sabha, the anti-Nitish camp in the party that he has started preparing on Sunday to present the rebel faction as the “real party”.
Bihar chief minister and JD(U) national president Nitish Kumar’s claim, after his decision to ally with the BJP, that the party is recognised only in Bihar will be contested by the Sharad camp in its effort to wrest control over the party, said sources.
Yadav and senior leaders in his faction, including two Rajya Sabha members and several national office-bearers, are likely to present letters of support from 14 state unit presidents to claim that the JD(U) does have a national footprint.
JD(U)’s Gujarat unit chief Arun Srivastava, who was sacked by Kumar from the post of party general secretary, said the Sharad camp has the support of “the state units”. Srivastava also alleged that Kumar was trying to “capture JD(U) and rob it of its national presence” after allying with the BJP and forming an NDA government in Bihar in July in “utter disregard for the Bihar people’s mandate”.
The open revolt by Yadav, who completed his three-day tour of Bihar on Saturday to mobilise anti-Nitish support among party workers and the people, has sparked palpable tension within the Nitish Kumar camp.
During his tour, Yadav, who was party national chief till last year, has projected himself as the flag-bearer of the “original JD(U)”, calling the faction led by Kumar as the “sarkari (government) party”.
“He (Yadav) is protesting against Nitish Kumar while retaining his Rajya Sabha membership… If there is any shame left in Sharad Yadav, he should resign from the Rajya Sabha,” said JD(U) spokesperson Ajay Alok as efforts by the two rival camps to gain control over the party intensified.
The ‘Janata Parivar’, a reference to various parties with socialist ethos, has a history of mergers and splits.
Yadav enjoys little support from the party’s lawmakers, who are overwhelmingly from Bihar, but believes that he can make a fight of his claim over the party and cause a split. The original Janata Dal had seen several such splits in the past.
Two Rajya Sabha members, Ali Anwar Ansari and M P Veerendra Kumar, are seen to be with Yadav in his fight against Kumar.
The party has also made light of his claims of having the real JD(U) with him, saying that it is RJD workers and supporters who have greeted him during his tour in Bihar while its workers have kept away.