Senior JD(U) leader Sharad Yadav, who has opposed Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar’s decision to align with the BJP, was on Monday made convenor of a 16-member Opposition committee that will hold conventions on the theme of “Save Composite Culture” in all states on the lines of the August 17 event here. Gujarat JD(U) MLA Chhotubhai Basava, who had gone against his party’s decision to support the BJP and voted for Congress candidate Ahmed Patel in the recent Rajya Sabha polls in Gujarat, has also been made a member of the committee.
In what seemed a precursor to plans to forge a larger Opposition unity ahead of 2019 Lok Sabha polls, the “Sajha Virasat Bachao Sammelan” held here on August 17 saw Opposition parties tearing into the Narendra Modi-led government’s programmes and vowing to fight it under a united banner. It was proposed that to “save” the nation’s composite culture in consonance with the Preamble to the Constitution, committees at the state level and one committee at the national level may be formed.
Members of the national committee formed on Monday include Anand Sharma (Congress), Ramgopal Yadav (SP), Veer Singh (BSP), Sitaram Yechury (CPM), Sukhendu Sekhar Roy (TMC), former Jharkhand CMs Babulal Marandi (JVM-P) and Hemant Soren (JMM), Tariq Anwar (NCP), D Raja (CPI), Jayant Chaudhary (RLD), Manoj Jha (RJD), B R Ambedkar’s grandson Prakash Ambedkar (Bharipa Bahujan Mahasangh), Danish Ali (JDS) and suspended JD(U) leader and former minister Ramai Ram.
A decision was taken to hold such conventions in various states soon, for which state-level panels may be formed. Sharad becoming convenor of the panel is further indication that there is little scope for reconciliation between him and Nitish, who had on Saturday dared him to break the party if he had the support of MLAs and MPs.
Stopping short of suspending him from the party, the JD(U) has already removed Sharad from the post of leader of the House in Rajya Sabha and threatened further measures including termination of his Rajya Sabha membership if he attends the “BJP bhagao, desh bachao” rally being organised by Lalu Prasad’s RJD on August 27.
Meanwhile, sources close to Sharad said they would soon approach the Election Commission to claim that the “real JD(U)” belongs to them. Sharad had talks in this regard on Sunday with Congress leader and senior lawyer Kapil Sibal. Sibal and two of his juniors met Sharad at his residence Saturday. The Sharad camp is likely to question election of Nitish as JD(U) president in April 2016.