Sachchidanand Jha

Patna : With former JD(U) president Sharad Yadav, 70, adopting an aggressive posture and branding the party headed by Nitish Kumar as ` Sarkari Janata Dal’ at Sonepur in Saran district on August 10, 2017, his suspension from the party and removal from the post of leader of the party in the Rajya Sabha appears imminent.

Sharad Yadav, who was party president for 12 years, made no bones about his differences with the JD(U) president and Bihar CM Nitish Kumar when he said that those in Sarkari Janata Dal are chief minister and ministers while those in real Janata Dal are among masses. He also said that CM Nitish Kumar’s decision to join hands with the BJP and forming government with its support breaking the Grand Alliance (GA) comprising JD(U), RJD and Congress was betraylal of the mandate the GA had got in November 2015 state assembly polls. Sharad is, in fact, provoking Nitish to expell him from the party as that would save his Rajya Sabha seat.

Sharad also congratulated Congress leader Ahmad Patel on his victory in Rajya Sabha polls in Gujarat with the support of lone JD(U) MLA in the state Chhotubhai Basava considered close to the former. He will hold direct dialogue with the people to assess their mood during his stay in Bihar. He is also likely to attend August 27 rally of  the RJD at Patna, which will be definitely very embarrassing for Nitish.

Sharad reached Patna on August 10 afternoon and left for Muzaffarpur via Sonepur and Hajipur ( Vaishali). As expected, no JD(U) legislator was present at Patna Airport when Sharad arrived there on a three-day visit to the state. But,  senior JD(U) leader and former minister Ramai Ram was present there. Bihar JD(U) president Bashistha Narayan Singh, also a Rajya Sabha member, had on August 9 described Sharad’s Bihar visit as his `personal trip’. The JD(U) has nothing to do with his visit, Singh said.

But, the problem with Sharad is that he does not have a base in Bihar. Moreover, the next Lok Sabha polls is still nearly two years away while next Bihar assembly polls will be held in 2020. He will find it diificult to wage a long political fight against Nitish, supported by the NDA, for that long. It would also require him to mostly stay in Bihar. Although RJD Chief Lalu Prasad is supporting Sharad in his fight against Nitish but he would never promote him at the cost of his two sons: former Deputy CM Tejaswi Yadav and former Minister Tej Pratap Yadav.

If Sharad really wants to challenge Nitish, he will have to take a moral stand and resign his Rajya Sabha seat. Six Gujarat Congress MLAs, who recently joined the BJP, too have resigned their assembly seats.

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