The Election Commission (EC) on Tuesday refused to take cognizance of the Sharad Yadav-led camp’s claim to JD(U)’s election symbol as its plea was not backed by affidavits of support from party legislators and office- bearers.
The commission also pointed out that the application filed by Javed Raza on behalf of the Sharad-led camp was not signed by him. “Therefore the commission has not taken any cognisance of the said application under Para 15 of the Symbols Order,” states the order, a copy of which was also sent to the faction led by Bihar CM and JD(U) chief Nitish Kumar.
The decision has come as a blow to the Sharad faction, which had approached the EC on August 25 claiming to be the “real JD(U)”. The dispute within the party was triggered by Nitish walking out of the ruling grand alliance with Congress and RJD in Bihar in July and forming the government with BJP’s support, less than 24 hours after his resignation.
The Nitish-led JD(U) has repeatedly dismissed claims of a “split” in the party, with the Bihar CM daring Sharad to break the party if he has the numbers. Despite the party issuing warnings to Sharad, he continued to attack the Nitish-led faction and organised “Save Composite Culture” conferences, which were attended by 14 Opposition parties in Delhi on August 17 and Indore on August 30. The JDU has moved a plea, seeking disqualification of Sharad’s Rajya Sabha membership.
In response to Sharad camp’s application to the EC, a group of party leaders, representing the Nitish faction, approached the commission and submitted affidavits of support from 71 party MLAs, 30 MLCs, seven Rajya Sabha MPs and two Lok Sabha MPs. The Nitish-led camp also requested EC to reject Sharad’s plea.
Finding little merit in the Sharad faction’s claim, the EC wrote to Raza on Tuesday, “You have not produced any supporting document to show the group referred to in your application has adequate support of the legislative wing and organisational wing of the party, so as to make it splinter group of the party within the meaning of Para 15 of the Symbols Order.”