As expected, the JD(U) faction led by Chief Minister Nitish Kumar today decided to be part of the NDA, returning to the BJP-led alliance four years after it snapped the 17-year-old ties with the saffron party. The decision to return to the NDA fold was taken in a resolution approved at a meeting of the national executive of the JD(U) here chaired by Kumar, who is the party president.
"The national executive meeting of JD(U) chaired by party president Nitish Kumar approved a resolution to become part of NDA," its principal general secretary KC Tyagi said.
The JD(U) has two MPs in the Lok Sabha and 10 in Rajya Sabha. While the two in Lok Sabha are with Kumar, three of its Rajya Sabha MPs--Sharad Yadav, Ali Anwar Ansari and MP Veerendra Kumar of Kerala--are opposed to him. The ruling alliance comprised 32 parties before JD(U) decided to join it.
In a dramatic development on July 26, Nitish Kumar resigned as chief minister dumping the RJD and Congress to stitch a new alliance with BJP and was sworn in as the CM for the sixth time the next day.
BJP president Amit Shah welcomed the decision of the JD(U) headed by Nitish Kumar to join the NDA and said it heralded a "new era of development" in Bihar. "I welcome the JD(U) decision of joining NDA, as this will not only strengthen the NDA but will also begin a new era of development and growth in Bihar," Shah said.
इससे न सिर्फ NDA और मजबूत होगा बल्कि बिहार में भी विकास और प्रगति के एक नए युग की शुरूआत होगी।— Amit Shah (@AmitShah) August 19, 2017
Shah had last week invited the JD(U) to join the NDA at a meeting with Nitish Kumar.
"BJP president Amit Shah during a meeting with our party president Nitish Kumar had recently urged him to bring JD(U) into NDA. The national executive committee approved it and now we have become part of NDA," Tyagi, who was flanked by senior party leaders R C P Singh, Harbansh and Pawan Varma among others, told a news conference.
The national executive also put its seal of approval on the decision of JD(U)'s Bihar unit to walk out of the Grand Alliance and join hands with BJP to form the government in Bihar. The decision to return to the NDA fold came a little after four years when Kumar had driven JD(U) to walk out of NDA on June 16, 2013 over Narendra Modi being made the prime ministerial candidate.
The party's two factions headed by Kumar and Sharad Yadav held parallel meetings in Patna during the day. The group under its president (Kumar) categorically denied that there was any split and said that the "overwhelming majority" of its members is with them.
The Kumar faction, however, avoided cracking the whip against Sharad Yadav, who is charting a different path, till August 27 to see if he participates in the RJD rally at Patna.
"We will wait till August 27 to see if Sharad Yadavji crosses the Lakshman rekha and stands with Lalu Prasad, who is considered the Badshah of corruption in the country," Tyagi said.
Yadav skipped the national executive meeting and attended 'Jan Adalat' a parallel programme with suspended JD(U) MP Ali Anwar Ansari and others promising to continue with the Grand Alliance with RJD and Congress.
Tyagi categorically denied any split in JD(U) and said 16 out of 20 state unit presidents of the party, all its 71 MLAs and 30 MLCs in Bihar and all office bearers of its committees appointed earlier by Kumar with the consent of Yadav were present in the national executive meeting and became part of the decision. "So how can there be split in JD(U)?"
He justified Bihar JD(U)'s proposal to part company with the Grand Alliance over graft charge against the then deputy chief minister Tejaswi Prasad Yadav, who is the son of RJD supremo Lalu Prasad.
"If the decision was not taken on time, this alliance could also have met the same fate as that UPA II under Manmohan Singh, who himself was not in corrupt practises but could not check the corrupt practises of its partners," Tyagi said.
He referred to the "clean political image" of Nitish Kumar, who, he said, had resigned from ministerial posts four times in the past to keep morality in politics.
Tyagi, who has long association with Sharad Yadav spanning for over five decades, expressed unhappiness over his decision to oppose the party line and be on the side of Lalu Prasad.