JD(U) rebels to hold convention in Patna today

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New Delhi, Aug 18 (PTI): Janata Dal (United) rebels, led by Sharad Yadav, will on Saturday hold a convention in Patna, coinciding with the national executive meet convened by the party headed by Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar. The convention follows a mega meeting of anti-BJP parties held yesterday in the national capital, seeking to save the “composite culture” of the country.

The rebels have been up in arms ever since Kumar decided to sever ties with the grand alliance partners — RJD-Congress — and joined hands with the BJP to form the government in the state. Sharpening the attack on Nitish Kumar for giving up “democratic norms”, Rajya Sabha MP Ali Anwar Ansari asserted that those opposed to the Bihar CM represented the “real” JD (U), and added “Nitish represents BJP Janata Dal.”

Refusing to acknowledge a “split” in the party, Ansari said there was “sharp resentment” among JD(U) workers on the removal of Sharad Yadav as the leader of party MPs in the Rajya Sabha and also for questioning Nitish’s decision to form an alliance with the BJP. He said all the leaders of the party including Sharad Yadav would discuss the goings-on in the party in Patna and later visit the flood affected parts of Bihar.

The party’s former national general secretary Arun Kumar Srivastava, who was expelled after the JD(U) legislator in Gujarat voted against the NDA candidate in the recent vice presidential polls, said that the rebels could approach the Election Commission for a claim on party name and symbol in case of a split.  “Although I do not think Nitish will claim the party symbol because he has no love for the party or its symbol, but we will definitely approach the EC in case there is need,” he said.

Srivastava also claimed that all the state party units, except those in Bihar and Jharkhand, were supporting Sharad Yadav and those opposed to Nitish. “We have received support letters from the presidents of 14 state units who are opposed to the JD(U) alliance with the BJP. They expressed their willingness to attend the Patna convention but may not be able to do so since it is being held at short notice,” he said.

The former general secretary of the party also attacked Nitish Kumar for not honouring “democratic norms” in removing party leaders without seeking explanation. “I was not served any notice or asked for any explaination. The same happened with Sharad Yadav and Ali Anwar and 21 other leaders who were removed in Bihar,” he claimed. Srivastava also attacked senior JD(U) leader KC Tyagi for siding with Nitish Kumar and his decision to go with the BJP, saying he was doing so for the “lust of power”.

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