Patna/New Delhi, Aug 14 (IANS) Bihar’s ruling Janata Dal-United (JD-U) on Monday suspended 21 members, including former Minister Ramai Ram, for “anti-party activities” after they backed Sharad Yadav, who has opposed the party’s tie-up with the BJP.
At the same time, the party denied there is any split in its ranks.
Among the leaders suspended for six years are Arjun Rai, a former MP from Sitamarhi, former MLA Raj Kishore Sinha, and former member of Legislative Council Vijay Verma. Two district Presidents and five block-level chiefs are also in the list.
Bihar JD-U President Vashistha Narayan Singh said the 21 had been stripped of their primary membership.
In New Delhi, party Secretary General K.C. Tyagi said there was no split in the JD-U as most MPs, party office-bearers, state unit Presidents and MLAs were with Bihar Chief Minister and party President Nitish Kumar.
He said only “one or two people have voluntarily left the party” or are about to leave it and it cannot be called a split.
“Out of 11 MPs, nine are with Nitish Kumar… seven of the nine Rajya Sabha MPs are with him. Ali Anwar Ansari is the only MP with Sharad Yadav, but his term is ending in March next year,” Tyagi said.
He added that only five state party committees — Bihar, Jharkhand, Kerala, Jammu and Kashmir, and Dadara and Nagar Haveli — were recognised by the Election Commission and they were with Nitish Kumar.
“Except for Arun Shrivastava and Varghese George, all party General Secretaries, a total of eight, are with Nitish Kumar. Among the Secretaries, only Virender Singh Bidhuri has gone with Sharad Yadav. The other five are with us,” Tyagi said.
Dismissing claims that most party units were siding with Sharad Yadav, Tyagi said only Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Haryana, Rajasthan and Gujarat have gone with the former Union Minister.
Those units which pledged support to Nitish Kumar include Bihar, Jharkhand, Dadra and Nagar Haveli, Jammu and Kashmir, Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, West Bengal, Manipur, Maharashtra, Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Punjab, Chandigarh and Goa, he said.
“We have videotapes and letters from them in our favour. We can produce the same before you (media),” Tyagi said.
The JD-U on Saturday removed Sharad Yadav, who opposed the party’s decision to ally with the National Democratic Alliance in Bihar, as its leader in the Rajya Sabha and replaced him with R.C.P. Singh, a trusted lieutenant of Nitish Kumar.
According to JD-U leaders, Monday’s suspensions came as these leaders had accompanied Sharad Yadav during his three-day visit to Saran, Muzaffarpur, Madhubani, and Darbhanga districts to meet party supporters and understand their mood over Nitish Kumar’s decision.
“In Bihar, we have 71 MLAs. Not a single MLA or Minister went to meet Yadav while he was touring Bihar. No district President welcomed him across 13 districts. So where is the split,” he said.
Tyagi insisted that Yadav had “voluntarily given up” the JD-U and that it would be “very difficult” for party leadership to take action against him, like it had done in case of 21 rebels or Ali Anwar Ansari.
Meanwhile, reacting to JD-U’s action against those supporting him, Sharad Yadav said the action came after he visited Bihar “just once” after red flagging Nitish Kumar’s decision to snap ties with the Grand Alliance.
Yadav said the JD-U faction led by Nitish Kumar would “lose count of partymen they will have to suspend if he tours the whole of Bihar”.
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