Sharad Yadav was elected to the Rajya Sabha last year and his term was scheduled to end in 2022. Photograph: (Twitter)
The Sharad Yadav-led faction has armed itself with letters of support from 14 state unit presidents, a close aide of the senior JD(U) leader said
Senior JD(U) leader Sharad Yadav is set to present his faction as the "real" party claiming that many of its state units are with him while the support for party president Nitish Kumar is confined to Bihar.
The Sharad Yadav-led faction, which includes two Rajya Sabha MPs and some national office-bearers, has armed itself with letters of support from 14 state unit presidents, Arun Shrivastava, a close aide of the senior JD(U) leader said. Nitish Kumar recently removed Sharad Yadav from the post of the party's general secretary.
To counter Nitish Kumar's assertion that the JD(U) is recognised only in Bihar - a point made to debunk claims of support from other state units by the Yadav faction-- Shrivastava claimed the party always had a national footprint. He said it was Yadav who headed the party before Kumar had merged his Samata Party with it.
"We will not leave the party. Nitish Kumar himself says that the party does not exist outside Bihar. Then he should form a new party for Bihar. He should not try to capture the JD(U) which always had a national presence," he told PTI. The "Janata Parivar", a reference to various parties with socialist ethos, has a history of mergers and splits.
Sharad Yadav enjoys little support from the party's lawmakers, who are overwhelmingly from Bihar, but believes that he can make a fight of his claim over the party and cause a split. The original Janata Dal has seen several such splits at in the past. Two Rajya Sabha members, Ali Anwar Ansari and M P Veerendra Kumar, are seen to be with the JD(U) leader in his fight against Nitish Kumar.
The JD(U) has removed Sharad Yadav as the leader of its parliamentary party in the Rajya Sabha. It has also made light of his claims of having the real JD(U) with him, saying that it is RJD workers and supporters who have greeted him during his tour in Bihar while its workers have kept away. During his visit to the national capital on Friday, Nitish Kumar had virtually shut the door on any reconciliation with Yadav, saying he is free to take any decision as the alliance with the BJP had the entire party's nod.
"He (Yadav) is free to take his decision. As far as the party is concerned, it has already taken its decision. The decision was not mine alone and it was taken with the consent of the party. If he keeps a different opinion, then he is free to do so," Nitish had told reporters.