Patna: Rebel Janata Dal United (JD-U) parliamentarian Sharad Yadav, who has raised a banner of revolt against party chief Nitish Kumar — also the chief minister of Bihar — faces the prospect of losing his House membership now that the Election Commission has rejected his claim over the party symbol. The country’s poll panel rejected his claim citing lack of sufficient documents to substantiate his point.
The EC announcement came within hours of the Rajya Sabha secretariat issuing notices to him as well as another party parliamentarian, Ali Anwar, over their alleged involvement in “anti-party activities”. Notices were issued to them after the party leadership petitioned Vice-President/Chairman of Rajya Sabha Venkaiah Naidu, seeking cancellation of their House membership for indulging in anti-party activities.
But now, with the poll panel rejecting the claim of his faction being the “real” JD-U, Yadav’s disqualification as a Rajya Sabha member remains just a matter of time. However, he put up a brave front on Wednesday. “I have always stood by ideologies and will continue my fight for justice. I am least bothered over the issue,” Yadav told the media in Delhi today, claiming he never violated the party’s discipline.
“I am not concerned about losing my House membership; rather I want to save the composite culture of the country. I have already tendered resignation as a Member of Parliament twice in the past for this cause,” Yadav said.
He also took potshots at chief minister Kumar for walking out of the erstwhile three-party Grand Alliance and forming government with the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) against which they had won elections. “After severe poll disaster in the 2014 Lok Sabha elections, it was Nitish Kumar who was eager to form a Grand Alliance to take on the BJP. Lalu Prasad was not a bit interested but he changed his mind after our repeated requests,” Yadav revealed.
Emboldened by the EC order delivering its judgment in its favour, the JD-U today mounted heavy attacks on Yadav and suggested him to join the Rashtriya Janata Dal of Lalu Prasad. “Sharad Yadav should formally join the RJD and accept the party symbol ‘Lantern’ as its own without any further delay,” taunted JD-U spokesperson Neeraj Kumar. He added Yadav had no option other than joining the RJD as he was going to lose his Rajya Sabha membership soon.
The RJD came to Yadav’s defence, saying it couldn’t set aside such a senior socialist leader like him and raising questions about the speed of the EC verdict. “We are wondering at the way the EC delivered its judgment so quickly in this case,” said RJD spokesperson Shivanand Tiwary today. He added Yadav still had the option to move the Supreme Court.
The JD-U headed by Kumar turned aggressive against him after he rejected the party’s request to stay away from the rival RJD’s rally against the BJP in Patna on August 27, in a severe embarrassment to the top party leadership.
Yadav, who was the founding president of the JD-U, not only attended the rally abut also attack the BJP for implementing its “divisive” agenda and weakening the democratic set-up of the country. He also claimed the Grad Alliance still existed in Bihar even after JD-U president Nitish Kumar walked away from the coalition.
Last month, the JD-U also removed Yadav as the parliamentary party’s leader in the Rajya Sabha and replaced him with RCP Singh, former bureaucrat-turned-parliamentarian.