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Infighting jitters for Dal

Patna, May 3: The JD(U) appears to have been gripped by a mood of disorder and insecurity with just 13 more seats left to go to polls.

“Anyone gets away with saying anything. Nobody appears to be sure who is going to say what,” said a frustrated JD(U) MLA, wondering if this was an indication of things to come. People like former JD(U) MP Shivanand Tiwari who was expelled from the party recently have no doubt. “This is the beginning of what is going to intensify after the polls,” he said.

The internal rift within the JD(U) seems to be surfacing on a day-to-day basis. A day after its president, Sharad Yadav, left the whole party aghast when he clubbed RJD chief Lalu Prasad and chief minister Nitish Kumar into one for “failing to rise above caste”, the party headed for another crisis as the state party chief, Bashishtha Narayan Singh, declared that no JD(U) leader would go to Varanasi to campaign for AAP candidate and former Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal.

On Saturday, Sharad made a volte-face. He denied dubbing Nitish a casteist. “Those saying it or writing about it are lying,” he said.

JD(U) national spokesperson K.C. Tyagi had announced his party’s support to the AAP against BJP’s prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi and declared that JD(U) leaders would campaign for Kejriwal in Varanasi.

“Bihar is much more important for us than Kejriwal,” Bashishtha said, stressing that Tyagi should have held wider discussions within the party before making the announcement.

Tyagi later told The Telegraph that he would talk to Bashishtha on the issue and then make a statement.

However, it is Sharad’s “caste” statement in Muzaffarpur on Friday which has left JD(U) leaders red-faced.

Sharad later tried to make amends by declaring that he had included Nitish’s name because of a slip of tongue.

But Nitish’s followers are not convinced. “It was deliberate. Sharad is too seasoned a politician to make mistakes like that,” said a JD(U) leader.

The opposition, namely the BJP, is having a field day over Sharad’s statement. “Sharadji has exposed both Lalu and Nitish as persons engaged in exploiting caste for politics and not believing in development,” said BJP’s Syed Shahnawaz Hussain.


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