PATNA: Battle lines are drawn sharply in JD(U) as the rebel faction led by senior leader and Rajya Sabha member Sharad Yadav is set to hold a parallel convention in Patna on Saturday when party national president and Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar would preside over the national executive meeting.
Yadav’s faction, which claims itself as the “real JD(U),” put up several banners in streets corners in Patna on Friday, soliciting the party’s supporters to attend the convention. These banners, carrying large photographs of Yadav and hung close to those put up by the faction led by Nitish Kumar, said that “the grand alliance continues”.
Flush with the success of a convention of several anti-BJP parties held in New Delhi at Yadav’s invitation on Thursday, the rebel camp looks determined to challenge Nitish Kumar and deny him the gains of JD(U)’s organisational presence and support base in Bihar and some other states.
At the national executive meeting, scheduled to be held at Kumar’s official residence, the party is likely to adopt a resolution to formally join NDA after a gap of four years. The meeting is also likely to pass a strongly-worded resolution about the party’s commitment to initiatives against corruption. Besides, the party may resolve to suspend Yadav from the party. Yadav was JD(U)’s national president till Nitish took over last year.
“Nearly 3,000 leaders and workers of the party from across the country will attend this convention called by Sharad Yadav. It is an open secret that an overwhelming majority of the party’s office-bearers and supporters are against Nitish Kumar’s unilateral decision to desert the grand alliance and realign with BJP,” said Arun Srivastava, who was sacked from the post of JD(U) national general secretary for siding with Yadav.
He said the rebel leaders’ convention has been christened ‘Jan Adalat’ as it is the people who decide which “ideological line of action” the party and its leaders should adopt. The convention, being held at Sri Krishna Memorial Hall in Patna, will be attended by Yadav, Srivastava, suspended JD(U) leader and Rajya Sabha member Ali Anwar, among others.
The Nitish faction rubbished these claims, saying there is no split in the party as Yadav represents a “fringe group beyond its expiry date”. The CM held a meeting with JD(U)’s national office-bearers at his residence on Friday evening and discussed the emerging situation, said sources.