PATNA: Determined to stamp out dissent led by veteran leader Sharad Yadav, Bihar’s ruling JD(U) on Monday suspended 21 leaders who owe allegiance to him and are opposed to chief minister and party national president Nitish Kumar’s decision to dump the grand alliance and form the state government with BJP.
The 21 leaders, including an ex-MP and four former legislators, were suspended from the primary membership by the party’s state unit president and Rajya Sabha member Bashistha Narayan Singh. The action was taken citing “anti-party activities” these leaders indulged in.
Prominent among those suspended include former MP from Sheohar Arjun Rai, former minister Ramai Ram, ex-MLA Raj Kishore Sinha and ex-MLC Vijay Varma. The rest include two district presidents and five block-level presidents. All the leaders had participated in Yadav’s tour of Bihar during which he publicly spoke against Kumar’s “betrayal of Bihar’s mandate”.
The decision came a day after the Sharad Yadav faction claimed to have letters of support for itself written by JD(U)’s 14 state units and prepared to claim itself as the “real JD(U)” that has a national footprint and ambition contrary to Nitish Kumar’s claim that the party is recognised only in Bihar.
The party had removed Yadav as its leader in the Rajya Sabha last week for undertaking his ‘Jan Samvad Yatra’ and saying that JD(U) is “not only Nitish Kumar’s party”. Ali Anwar, a JD(U) Rajya Sabha member and one of the prominent Muslim faces in the party, was also suspended from the parliamentary party last week for siding with Yadav, who was JD(U)’s national president until last year.
JD(U) national general secretary and RS member K C Tyagi denied there was any split in the party as most of the MPs and MLAs of the party are with Nitish Kumar. He also criticised Yadav for deciding not to attend JD(U)’s national executive meeting scheduled in Patna on August 19.