New Delhi, Sept. 12: The Election Commission has refused to take cognisance of a petition filed by a faction of the Janata Dal United led by dissident MP Sharad Yadav staking claim over the party's name and symbol.
The JDU had on August 12 decided to remove Sharad as the party's leader in the Rajya Sabha in the wake of his open hobnobbing with Lalu Prasad's Rashtriya Janata Dal and other Opposition parties.
RCP Singh, a confidant of Bihar chief minister and JDU president Nitish Kumar, is the new leader.
Sharad, who had termed Nitish's decision to break out of the Grand Alliance and rejoin hands with the BJP as a "betrayal of the people's mandate", had dubbed the faction loyal to the Bihar chief minister the " sarkari JDU".
He then held a series of street-corner meetings - dubbed Jan Samvad - across Bihar to spread his anti-Nitish campaign, organised the Sanjha Virasat programme with other Opposition parties to highlight the Centre's faults, and attended the RJD's "BJP Bhagao Desh Bachao" rally in Patna on August 27. The Nitish camp cited all these to allege that Sharad was engaging in anti-party activities.
In its plea before the Election Commission last month, the Sharad group said: "The said faction has abandoned the founding principles of the JDU and has for the purposes of pure political opportunism aligned with the BJP and has thereby belied and violated the faith and trust of over 11 crore citizens from Bihar who have given their franchise in favour of the JDU as a part of the Mahagathbandhan. It is submitted that the faction led by Nitish Kumar has voluntarily given up their membership under the Tenth Schedule."
The commission "disposed of" this plea today. A spokesman for the poll panel said: "(The) Application was not supported with documents of support. (The) EC refused to take cognisance citing lack of documents."
Last week, the JDU had sought Sharad's disqualification from the Rajya Sabha.
JDU secretary-general K.C. Tyagi said in a statement that the Congress and RJD had failed in their mission to "confuse and divide the party". He also urged Rajya Sabha chairperson M. Venkaiah Naidu to act on the complaint of the JDU which has accused Sharad and fellow MP Ali Anwar Ansari of anti-party activities.
A PTI report said that the Rajya Sabha secretariat has asked Sharad and Anwar to respond within a week to their party's petition that they be disqualified from the House for "anti-party" activities.