Sharad Yadav, the Janata Dal (United) Parliamentary Party leader, is unlikely to attend the party’s national executive meeting in Patna on August 19, people familiar with the situation said.
The veteran leader is upset about party president and Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar’s decision on July 26 to ally with the Bharatiya Janata Party after breaking the alliance with the Rashtriya Janata Dal and the Congress.
Sharad Yadav has maintained that Nitish Kumar’s decision to form government with the BJP violates the popular mandate of the 2015 Assembly election: voters had backed the alliance to keep the Hindutva party at bay. However, Sharad Yadav has dismissed speculation that he might form a new party. “There is no question of forming a party,” he told the media on August 3.
Instead, Sharad Yadav’s confidants claimed that the former party president is mulling forming a new front to oppose both the Janata Dal (United) and the BJP. The shape of the front is likely to be made public at the “Sajhi Virasat” meeting of opposition parties in Delhi on August 17. The meeting is being organised at his behest and will likely be attended by several heavyweight Opposition leaders.
On his own
Sharad Yadav, his party’s leader in the Rajya Sabha, has been keeping a distance from Janata Dal (United) MPs considered close to Nitish Kumar. Instead of sitting with Janata Dal (United) MPs in Parliament’s Central Hall, he is seen in the company of leaders of the Congress, Left parties, Nationalist Congress Party, Samajwadi Party and the Rashtriya Janata Dal.
He has also held meetings with several Opposition leaders over the past few days, most prominently Bhupinder Singh Hooda, Digvijaya Singh, BK Hariprasad and Srikant Jena of the Congress, and Sharad Pawar of the Nationalist Congress Party. The meetings are part of the preparatory exercise for launching the new political front, his confidantes said. The announcement of the front will be preceded by Sharad Yadav’s tour of Bihar to meet Janata Dal (United) leaders and workers dismayed with Nitish Kumar’s decision to break the secular alliance and align with the BJP.
Meanwhile, Nitish Kumar is said to be considering removing Sharad Yadav as the Janata Dal (United)’s Rajya Sabha leader.
Already, the party is publicly targeting him for not supporting the alliance with the BJP. “Sharad Yadav is compromising with corruption by supporting the RJD and Congress-led mahagathbandhan in Bihar,” Janata Dal (United) chief spokesperson Sanjay Singh said on Thursday. Nitish Kumar has cited the allegations of corruption against Rashtriya Janata Dal chief Lalu Prasad Yadav and his family as the reason for breaking the alliance.