The JD (U) has called a meeting of its national executive on April 10 to discuss Yadav’s succession and also discuss the party’s merger with Ajit Singh’s Rashtriya Lok Dal (RLD) and Babulal Marandi’s Jharkhand Vikas Morcha (JVM).
With the JD (U) looking for expansion and probable status of a national party post-merger, Nitish Kumar assuming additional charge as the party’s national president could be only part of the strategy to project the Bihar CM as a “national face” from non-BJP and non-Congress camp.
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Though a formal announcement would be made only during the national executive, two ministers in the Nitish cabinet — Rajiv Ranjan Singh alias Lalan Singh and Shravan Kumar — have been forthright in saying that Nitish could be the next JD (U) president.
Parliamentary Affairs Minister Shravan Kumar said, “There are high chances of the CM taking over from Sharad Yadav. We are very happy in anticipation.”
Water Resources Minister Lalan Singh, who is also Nitish’s close aide, said, “Nitish Kumar is the unanimous leader of the party. There can be no better name than him to replace Sharad Yadav.”
Besides, the JD (U) is expediting the process of merger with the RLD and JVM and has been working out key positions it can offer to leaders like Singh and Marandi. Sources said the merged entity may work out the post of parliamentary board chairperson. The proposed merger also assumes importance ahead of the 2017 Assembly polls in Uttar Pradesh.
The party also has two Rajya Sabha seats to fill this July. While Sharad Yadav is a near certain choice for his renomination to the Upper House, a mad rush is expected for the second position among leaders like RCP Singh, K C Tyagi and even Ajit Singh.
A senior JD (U) leader said, “Nitish Kumar may take over the party’s reins in our grand national plan to project him as the face of the party. After having back-to-back third term as chief minister and a resounding 2015 Assembly win against Narendra Modi-powered BJP, we are surely working as per our national plan.”