The senior socialist leader’s refusal to back Nitish Kumar’s embrace of the BJP is the first sign of a crack within the Janata Dal (United).
New Delhi: In the first signs of an internal revolt against Nitish Kumar’s decision to join hands with the Bharatiya Janata Party and form a new coalition government in Bihar, senior Janata Dal (United) leader Sharad Yadav has decided to oppose the new alliance.
Speaking to The Wire on Friday afternoon, Yadav, who is a Rajya Sabha member and a veteran of national politics who first entered parliament in 1974, said that he was against Nitish’s decision to ally with “communal forces”.
Sources close to Yadav added that he told finance minister Arun Jaitley – who met the senior JD(U) leader here on Thursday night to discuss a specific ministerial portfolio in the Union government– that he was not interested in becoming a minister and would in fact continue to oppose the BJP nationally and in Bihar.
Yadav would be making a formal statement on his decision in a day or so, the sources said.
On Friday, the Nitish Kumar government comfortably won a vote of confidence in the Bihar assembly with 131 MLAs backing the chief minister and 108 voting against him. The JD(U) has 71 MLAs and the NDA 58, of which the BJP alone has 53. Nitish also won the backing of two independent MLAs.
Those voting against Nitish government included the Rashtriya Janata Dal’s 80 MLAs, the Congress’s 27, Communist Party of India (Marxist-Leninist) 3 and one independent.
Sharad Yadav’s current term in the Rajya Sabha comes to an end at the end of July and he has already been renominated by the JD(U) for a fresh term. How the JD(U) MLAs will vote now that Yadav has broken ranks with Nitish Kumar over the BJP alliance remains to be seen.