No spat with Nitish, Sharad will go to Varanasi

Party says his caste remark ‘a slip of tongue’.

Written by Santosh Singh | Patna | Updated: May 5, 2014 3:37:13 am

JD(U) president Sharad Yadav, who had to face embarrassment over the party’s “decision” to not send any party leader to campaign for AAP’s Arvind Kejriwal as announced earlier, would finally go to Varanasi on Monday along with the party spokesperson and Rajya Sabha MP K C Tyagi.

“We are both leaving for Varanasi tomorrow morning and Sharadji will address two meetings in the temple town tomorrow evening,” JD(U) secretary-general K C Tyagi told The Indian Express on Sunday. He said Yadav will also meet with some prominent citizens during the day to drum up support for Kejriwal. He would follow it up with a media interaction on May 6.

JD(U) state president Bashistha Narayan Singh had said on Saturday that as Bihar battle was more important, no leader should go to campaign for Kejriwal. Singh’s statement had come a day after the party announced its support for the AAP leader.

Sources said as Sharad Yadav was upset with the party’s “volte face” and registered his protest by saying that he would do “what the party wants him to do”, Chief Minister Nitish Kumar promptly responded and said the national president should go as per schedule.

JD(U) spokesperson Tyagi said, “I was surprised how our state president made such statement. I had announced party support for Kejriwal after talking to Sharadji and Nitishji at least four times. Things have been sorted out. Nitishji would not go because of his preoccupation with Bihar. Sharadji and I are going”.

Sharad Yadav also seems to have softened his stand and blamed the media for distorting his statement.  While at a Muzaffarpur public meeting two days ago he was reported as attacking Lalu and Nitish for not rising above caste politics, Yadav claimed he had never mentioned the two leaders, but was referring to BJP and Congress.

Tyagi, however, said: “It might be a slip of tongue at Muzaffarpur. Sharadji at times gets philosophical and his statement should not be read between the lines”.

Sources close to the CM indicated that Nitish could not afford to displease Sharad Yadav. “The party has been undergoing a process of churning. We have taken an ideological position against Narendra Modi and would stick to it. Some leaders have left the party in the past few months. But Sharadji is an asset and he must not feel hurt. The state president’s statement came because of lack of coordination”.

But this is not the first time that Yadav has disagreed with Nitish. While campaigning in Madhepura, when a reporter asked him about state government becoming weak if JD(U) does not get adequate number of LS seats, Yadav had said: “Nitish keeps saying such things and I do not need to react to everything”. The party sources said the national president should have forcefully ratified Nitish line.

Yadav, who has lost Madhepura only once to Lalu Prasad, has not been getting an encouraging feedback after the polls. JD(U) sources said Sharad Yadav had “never wanted to severe ties with the BJP and did so only at the behest of Nitish Kumar”.

“The split with the BJP might boomerang and if Sharad Yadav loses Madhepura, political equations may change post results,” a senior leader said adding that the party still hoped to get development votes from “silent EBC” and the consolidated Mahadalit voters. (With  ENS New Delhi)

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