The Janata Dal (United) on Saturday formally joined the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) in the midst of a rebellion by former party president and Rajya Sabha member Sharad Yadav who has been opposing the JDU joining hands with the BJP. However, sources said that nothing much would come of Sharad Yadav’s rebellion as he does not have any following.
The resolution about joining the alliance was passed at the residence of Bihar Chief Minister and JDU president Nitish Kumar in the presence of party MPs, MLAs and other party functionaries. Sharad Yadav called a parallel meeting in Patna to oppose the JDU joining hands with the BJP. However, no senior party functionary or MLA attended the meeting.
Commenting on the speculation that there might be a split in the party after Yadav’s rebellion, JDU sources told this newspaper that all the Rajya Sabha members, except Yadav, Ali Anwar and Veerendra Kumar, were with Nitish Kumar. “No split is going to happen, all the party MPs, MLA are with us. Sharad Yadavji is being used by the Rashtriya Janata Dal and the Congress as a tool to create a sense of confusion in JDU ranks. Sharad Yadav, when the time comes, will be standing alone,” a senior JDU party functionary said.
Earlier, there was speculation that at least 10 JDU MLAs belonging to the Yadav community might come out in support of Sharad Yadav. Out of the 10 JDU general secretaries, three belong to the Sharad Yadav faction. They are likely to be removed from their posts.
Sources in the NDA said that with the entry of JDU in the alliance, the much speculated Union Cabinet reshuffle is expected to take place by the end of this month. At least two MPs from JDU, which has two Lok Sabha and 10 Rajya Sabha members, are likely to be inducted in the Cabinet. One of the names likely to be proposed by the JDU for a Cabinet post is likely to be of former bureaucrat and RS member Ram Chandra Prasad Singh, who is seen as the right hand man of Nitish Kumar. Similarly, party secretary general and former RS member K.C. Tyagi is also being discussed as a possible name for a Cabinet post. Tyagi, who is considered by the party workers as one of the most sincere and accessible senior leaders, had come in for praise for the way he handled the entire sequence of events, which culminated into the entry of the JDU into the NDA. He did it while preferring to stay in the background. According to JDU leaders, they were unlikely to suspend Sharad Yadav from the party. “It is a remote possibility. Let him resign from JDU if he is not happy with our policies. Ideally, he should not enjoy his RS membership when he is not happy with the policy of the party, which has sent him to Parliament. This way, even he will realise what sort of support his newfound friends offer him and whether, or not, they are willing to send him to the RS,” the party functionary quoted above said. Earlier Sharad Yadav was removed from the post of leader of JDU parliamentary party last week.
Meanwhile, K.C. Tyagi, while speaking to journalists in Patna, said that the JDU did not act against Yadav for his “anti-party activities” because of his seniority and long association with the party. “If he attends RJD chief Lalu Prasad’s rally here on 27 August, then he will cross the Lakshman Rekha,” he added.