Senior JD (U) leader Sharad Yadav may not have ever faced such a dilemma in his political career: he cannot use the banner and posters of the JD (U), the party that he founded, because current national president of the party, Nitish Kumar has not sanctioned his three-day Bihar trip which starts from Sonepur, Hajipur today. And the political party, the RJD, that has been supporting him indirectly, cannot make its support for him public. Even though its workers have been around the venue, it is officially the Samajwadi Jan Morcha, an apolitical forum, that has been organising the Sharad show.
The JD (U), that sensed Sharad’s unease since the Grand Alliance split and Chief Minister Nitish Kumar returned to the NDA fold, has been waiting for Sharad’s public diatribe against Nitish Kumar to take any action against the veteran. It has also been keeping a watch on its workers and knows there are rebels within the ranks who support Sharad Yadav.
Though Sharad Yadav may not be able to effect a split in the 71-MLA JD (U), he can unilaterally announce the formation of a splinter group. Joining the RJD is the only other option for the veteran who has seldom considered Nitish Kumar his leader. Old timers recall how both emerging leaders of late 1980s, Lalu Prasad and Nitish Kumar, would vie for proximity to Sharad Yadav, then a Devi Lal nominee.
After losing the last Lok Sabha elections to RJD’s Rajesh Ranjan alias Pappu Yadav (now a rebel) from Madhepura, Sharad Yadav faces an arduous task to create and nurse a cadre he can call his own. .His task might become easier by joining the RJD or floating a new party that could have an electoral arrangement with the RJD which does have a devoted cadre. A look at the 25-odd stopovers on Sharad Yadav’s itinerary over the next three days tells one about how Sharad Yadav might well choose the “Lalu route” in his bid to get good response.
Sharad Yadav is likely to announce his next political move in a couple of days. The JD (U) national executive which meets on 19 August in Patna, may not wait long before it serves the senior leader a show cause notice. Nitish Kumar might not have spoken out against Sharad Yadav but his statement during his last press conference that “so many problems would be resolved” automatically in the new political realignment, is a strong enough hint that the two senior leaders do not agree with each other any longer.
Now we wait to find out where Sharad Yadav has decided to go from here.