PATNA: In a major relief to Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar, the State Election Commission on Friday ruled that the JD(U) faction led by him was eligible to retain the party’s arrow symbol.
The commission, hearing a dispute between the JD(U) factions led by Kumar and the party’s founder and former president Sharad Yadav, observed that there was urgency to pronounce the decision as both the factions had sought approval to contest the Gujarat Assembly polls.
“Nitish Kumar has demonstrated overwhelming majority support in the Legislature wing as well as in the National Council of the Party, which is the apex organisational body of the party. Accordingly, the group led by Kumar is hereby recognised as the Janata Dal (United),” the poll panel said in its five-page order.
Sharad Yadav, former JD(U) chief, broke away from Kumar after the latter joined the BJP-led NDA in July this year, breaking his alliance with Lalu Prasad Yadav-led RJD and Congress in Bihar. Thereafter, the Sharad Yadav faction had elected Gujarat MLA Chhotubhai Vasava as its Acting President, who had filed the petition with the poll panel.
It was alleged in the petition that there has been dispute in JD(U) following the decision taken by Kumar-led group in July 2017 to end the ‘Mahagathbandhan’, the alliance with non-BJP parties formed in 2015, and to align with the BJP, which was against the principles of the party and the earlier decision taken by it.
The order also mentioned that the Commission heard elaborate oral submissions of Kapil Sibal, Senior Counsel of Yadav faction, and Rakesh Dwivedi, Senior Counsel of Nitish Kumar faction, on November 7, 13, 14 and 15 this year and also considered the written submissions of both the counsels.