The JD(U) national executive chaired by Nitish Kumar on Saturday decided to formally join the NDA at the Centre, even as in a parallel meeting held elsewhere in Patna, party rebel Sharad Yadav declared he was sticking with the opposition Grand Alliance in Bihar. The JDU(U) national executive resolution paves the way for representatives of the party to join Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Council of Ministers in New Delhi. At a meeting with Nitish in the capital over lunch on August 11, BJP president Amit Shah had invited the JD(U) to join the NDA at the national level.
“JD(U) president Nitish Kumar approved a resolution to become part of the NDA. The national executive also put its seal of approval on the Bihar JD(U)’s unit decision to walk out of the Grand Alliance with the RJD and Congress and join hands with the BJP to form a government in Bihar,” party general secretary and its principal spokesperson K C Tyagi said after the meeting at 1 Anne Marg, the chief minister’s residence in Patna.
Yadav, who skipped the national executive despite being invited, attended a parallel event, Jan Adalat, at Patna’s Sri Krishna Memorial Hall along with some party leaders loyal to him, including the suspended Rajya Sabha MP Ali Anwar Ansari, suspended former minister Ramai Ram and suspended general secretary Arun Srivastava. Also Read: Nitish Kumar targets Sharad Yadav, asks why didn’t he stop JD(U) split from NDA in 2013
“Let anyone change their path. I have not changed my path. People will decide in future whose path is the right path,” Yadav said. Leaders at the event vowed to continue with the Grand Alliance.
Tyagi said the JD(U) had not split. “71 MLAs out of 71 are with Nitish Kumar, 30 out of 30 MLCs are with Nitish Kumar and 16 of the 19 office bearers whose names were finalised with the consent of Sharad Yadav at an earlier meeting presided by Nitish Kumar are with Nitish. Even then there is a split? I want to make it clear that there is no split in JD(U),” Tyagi said. Also Read: ‘The promise of grand alliance was for 5 years’: Sharad Yadav on Nitish Kumar’s decision to join NDA
The national executive took no decision on action against Yadav. Tyagi said the party would wait until August 27, the day the RJD has called a “BJP Bhagao Desh Bachao” rally in Patna. Yadav is set to attend the rally; should that happen, the JD(U) will begin the process to terminate his Rajya Sabha membership, leaders close to Nitish said.
Supporters of the rival JD(U) factions clashed briefly outside the residence of the chief minister. Speaking at an open session after the party meeting, Nitish took a jibe at Lalu Prasad over the alleged Bhagalpur Srijan scam, reported by The Indian Express on Saturday and in this edition. “It is good that even those people who were criticising the CBI are now demanding a probe by the CBI.” Lalu had assailed the CBI after the recent cases against his children.
“I always say that the Earth is fully equipped to meet all our needs, but not our greed. What is this tendency to earn do number ka paisa (ill-gotten wealth)?” Nitish asked.
It was his government that had brought the Bhagalpur scam in the public domain, Nitish said, adding that “nobody will be spared”. Sources close to Sharad Yadav said he is looking beyond Bihar to forge wider opposition unity, and that his home state Madhya Pradesh could be his first stop. Farmer suicides and agrarian distress have led to farm agitations in Mandsaur in MP and Maharashtra, both BJP-ruled states, Yadav’s first campaign could begin from Indore, the sources said.
The Yadav camp has said it will approach the Election Commission to stake claim over the party name and arrow symbol; however, the case of the Samajwadi Party, in which the Commission backed Akhilesh Yadav against party founder Mulayam Singh Yadav after most MLAs, MPs and office-bearers said they were loyal to the then UP chief minister, is likely to dampen spirits.
Yadav has ruled out joining Lalu’s RJD, dismissing the suggestion as “canard” spread by forces opposed to him, even as leaders close to Nitish have repeatedly attacked him over “cosying up to Lalu’s party”.