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Sharad Yadav is The New George Fernandes For Nitish, Faces Expulsion

Sharad Yadav, who has defied Nitish loyalists by going ahead with his state-wide Yatra, is likely to meet the same fate as George Fernandes did in 2009 for criticising the Bihar CM's style of functioning.

Alok Kumar | News18dmalok

Updated:August 9, 2017, 7:02 PM IST
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Sharad Yadav is The New George Fernandes For Nitish, Faces Expulsion
File photo of Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar and JD(U) leader Sharad Yadav. (Sonu Mehta via Getty Images)
Patna: JD(U) leader Sharad Yadav, who will arrive in Patna on Thursday for his state-wide Yatra, may be sidelined by the party for criticising Nitish Kumar’s decision to leave the Mahagathbandhan and join hands with the National Democratic Alliance (NDA).

The veteran socialist leader, after several twists and turns, decided to go ahead with his idea of going around the state and interact with people over Nitish’s decision, which he described as "betrayal of people’s mandate". His party Janata Dal (United) had advised him not to embark on any such Yatra.

After defying his party, Sharad fell out of favour with Nitish loyalists and it will likely result in disciplinary action against him on August 19, the day JD(U) is expected to convene a national executive meeting in Patna.

Sharad chose to stay back in Delhi after Nitish embraced BJP on July 26 and formed the new government with their support the very next day.

Initially, he held meetings with opposition leaders and a few dissidents from his own party, but rubbished reports of forming a new front. Meanwhile, back in Patna when Nitish was asked about Sharad’s defiance, he said, "If few more troubles get away from my path, then I will welcome that."

This was sufficient for Sharad to sense what was in store for him in the party. Changing his guarded approach, Sharad decided to go ahead with his Yatra. Estranged partner Lalu Yadav openly said that he was in touch with Sharad. Even on Wednesday, Lalu said, “Sharad ji is the founder of Janata Dal. He had merged with Nitish. Again he will be with us. So Mahagathbandhan in Bihar will continue to flourish.”

The JD(U) has not just distanced itself from his Yatra but also directed party workers to oppose him. “Our supporters are not happy with his approach. They are free to demonstrate their displeasure in a democratic manner,” a party spokesperson told News18. Local JD(U) leaders are all set to oppose Sharad and may even obstruct the route that he plans to take on his Yatra.

Taking a dig at Sharad, JD(U) spokesperson Neeraj Kumar said, “He has forgotten his own reality. He had resigned from the Parliament when he was named in the famous Hawala case. Why is he changing his stance and trying to side with corrupt Congress?”

Nitish Kumar removed Sharad’s loyalist Arun Srivastava on Tuesday for his selection of party’s agent for Rajya Sabha election in Gujarat. Srivastava was continuously in touch with Sharad and participated in a meeting called by him in Delhi after political realignment in Bihar.

Sharad is said to be displeased with Nitish Kumar ever since he ousted him from the post of party national president and took over the post himself. Sharad was sent to Rajya Sabha.

Veteran socialist leader George Fernandes also met the same fate in 2009. He was denied party ticket from Muzaffarpur which could have ensured his tenth term as a Lok Sabha member, a feat only achieved by Somnath Chatterjee and Atal Bihar Vajpayee.

George challenged and contested as an independent candidate. Many socialist colleagues such as the late Digvijaya Singh supported him. Nitish quickly convened a meeting and George was expelled from the party in April 2009. George had publicly slammed Nitish, accusing him of running the party as an autocrat. However, under pressure, he was sent to the Upper House from the party after his defeat in the Lok Sabha elections.

Many leaders of the party accept the fact that Sharad is on the same path. “This is also a coincidence that Sharad ji, like George, is an outsider. But unlike George, he is not a mass leader. Nitish can easily take a tough decision going by his style of functioning,” a leader close to Nitish said. That decision, sources said, might come just after Sharad Yadav completes his Yatra.
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