Patna: The ruling Janata Dal United (JD-U) in Bihar today removed senior party parliamentarian Sharad Yadav as the parliamentary party leader in the Rajya Sabha, Upper House of the Parliament, and replaced him with a new member RCP Singh, a bureaucrat-turned-politician.
The action comes after Yadav opposed the Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar’s move to form government with rival Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) after breaking a 20-month-long association with the Grand Alliance, which was given the mandate to rule.
A group of JD-U leaders on Saturday met vice-president M Venkaiah Naidu and handed him a letter, informing him about the replacement of their leader in the Rajya Sabha. The party gave it in writing that they have elected Singh as their new leader in the Rajya Sabha.
Apart from being the trusted lieutenant of the chief minister, Singh also hails from the chief minister’s home district of Nalanda. The JD-U has currently 10 members in the Rajya Sabha. Last night, the JD-U leadership had suspended another party parliamentarian Ali Anwar from the parliamentary party for attending a meeting of the opposition parties called by Congress chief Sonia Gandhi in New Delhi.
“Met Vice President & gave in writing that we have elected RCP Singh as our leader in Rajya Sabha,” state JD-U president Vashishtha Narayan Singh was quoted as telling news agency ANI, adding, “(We are taking) Necessary step because being leader if a person indulges in anti-party activities it has to be condemned unanimously.”
The crackdown is in retaliation to Yadav’s move to question the decision of the chief minister who has now joined handed with the BJP in utter violation of the people’s mandate. Yadav, who served as JD-U national president for two consecutive terms, is currently on a tour of Bihar and leading a campaign against going against the people’s mandate.
He said he was not a bit bothered by such actions of the party as the masses were with him. “I am not afraid of any one to speak the truth and stand by my principles. When I had not been afraid of Indira Gandhi, what do others matters?” Yadav told a rally in Bihar on Saturday, referring to his fight against the Emergency imposed by Indira Gandhi in the mid 70s. He was a student leader at that time and joined Jayaprakash Narayan, who led the movement that ousted Indira Gandhi from power for the first time in 1977.
Yadav has also termed the faction being led by the chief minister as “Sarkari JD-U” (official JD-U) while describing his faction as the real one that has the support of the masses. He has termed Kumar’s move as a “betrayal with people’s mandate”.
Yadav also said he was still with the Grand Alliance although Kumar had walked into the BJP-led NDA. “I still stand with the Grand Alliance that was given a mandate by 110 million people in Bihar in the 2015 assembly polls to rule for five years,” he has said and wondered over the way two parties (BJP and JD-U) with different ideologies and manifestoes contested against each other in the elections but joined hands together midway to form a new government.
“This never happened in 70 years of India’s independence,” he said during a tour of Bihar to seek people’s opinion about the present regime. His three-day public interaction programme ends today.