In Plans To Split With Nitish Kumar Sharad Yadav Takes Big Step Forward

Tuesday's dramatic Gujarat Rajya Sabha election has fast tracked a break-up in Bihar, where Chief Minister Nitish Kumar and his senior colleague in the Janata Dal (United) Sharad Yadav are now inexorably headed for a split.

This morning, Sharad Yadav congratulated the Congress' Ahmed Patel for snatching victory despite an all-out effort by the BJP to prevent his re-election to the Upper House of Parliament. He also posted a photo with the Congress leader.


Ahmed Patel won his election yesterday by a single vote, possibly that of the JD-U's lone Gujarat MLA Chhotubhai Vasava, who defied party leaders to assert that he had voted for Mr Patel, an old friend. Chhotubhai Vasava also said that his decision to vote for Ahmed Patel and not the BJP, was in protest against party chief Nitish Kumar's decision to dump allies Lalu Yadav and the Congress in Bihar and partner with the BJP.

He asked why state units of the JD-U had not been consulted on the big move and dismissed top party leader KC Tyagi's assertion that Nitish Kumar had asked the Gujarat unit to vote for the Balwantsinh Rajput, the BJP's candidate against Ahmed Patel.   

By evening, Nitish Kumar had expelled the JD-U's state chief Arun Srivastava, who is known to be close to Sharad Yadav, as is Mr Vasava.

Sharad Yadav, who was JD-U chief for years before Nitish Kumar took over, is reportedly contemplating launching his own party. He has called the Nitish Kumar-BJP alliance a betrayal of the people's mandate in the Bihar assembly elections two years ago, when Nitish Kumar led his alliance with Lalu Yadav and the Congress to victory on an anti-BJP agenda.     

The JD-U has dissociated itself from Sharad Yadav's three-day public interaction from tomorrow, ahead of a party convention next week.

Sharad Yadav's open support for Ahmed Patel is seen as an attempt to provoke Nitish Kumar into throwing him out of the party. That will not jeopardise his membership of the Rajya Sabha; if he resigns, he will lose his seat in Parliament




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