JD(U) leader Sharad Yadav, who has voiced displeasure over the split in Bihar’s Grand Alliance, today met some party office bearers where he discussed the development even as an aide said the veteran leader could float a new party. Sources said after the meeting where some general secretaries were present that he would take a call on the future direction he would take around the time when the JD(U) national executive meets in Patna on August 19. Although Yadav has voiced his displeasure over JD(U) walking out of the Grand Alliance and embracing BJP to form a government in Bihar, he has refrained from attacking party president and chief minister Nitish Kumar so far. He has called a meeting under the banner of ‘Sajhi Virasat’ (common heritage) on August 17 to which leaders of various opposition parties will be invited, sources close to him said.
With issues like communal harmony and democratic rights on the agenda, speakers are likely to attack the BJP-led NDA government, they said. Meanwhile, Vijay Verma, a trusted aide of Yadav, said in Bihar’s Madhepura that the senior JD(U) leader was in touch with “old friends” and pondering over the political situation that has emerged after the split. “Forming a new party is one of the options to which serious thought is being given,” he said.
RJD supremo Lalu Prasad has already appealed to Yadav to come out of the JD(U) and join the fight by secularists against communal forces. However, K C Tyagi, JD(U) principal general secretary considered close to Yadav, termed the talk about such a move a “rumour”. Verma claimed Yadav had said “emphatically” that he would continue to be a part of a coalition of secular parties. He has already met senior Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad and CPI-M’s Sitaram Yechury.
Quoting Yadav, Verma said he had also ruled out the possibility of joining the Modi government as a cabinet minister.
There is unease in a section of the JD(U) over Kumar joining hands with the BJP, with at least two of its Rajya Sabha MPs–Ali Anwar and M P Veerendra Kumar– making their displeasure public. “Yadav had expressed surprise (over decision to join hands with the BJP) but never said I protest against this,” K C Tyagi said. “I have seen Sharadji closely for the past 40 years and know that he had parted ways with Lalu Prasad on the issue of corruption…How can he go with Lalu now?” he asked.
Sources close to Yadav said he would visit Bihar after the vice presidential election on August 5. They said many state units of the party were with Yadav as they were opposed to Kumar’s decision of aligning with the BJP. However, JD(U) is a recognised party only in Bihar where its legislators are firmly behind Kumar. “The decision to break the Grand Alliance was taken by Bihar JD(U) at its executive meeting which I had to abide by.
“The JD(U) is registered with the Election Commission as a regional party in Bihar and hence going against the decision of the state party was not possible for me,” Kumar had said earlier while defending his decision to go with the BJP.