Sharad Yadav may form non-political forum

Senior JD(U) leader Sharad Yadav is likely to launch a non-political forum in his fight against Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar over BJP alliance even as both sides hardened their stand against each other.

While Kumar-led party suspended 21 Bihar-based leaders who are close to the rebel leader, sources said Yadav is determined to stay put with his fight against JD(U) joining hands with the BJP. He would be going ahead with a conference on composite culture on Thursday where he has invited opposition leaders.

Yadav has also invited Maharashtra farmers’ leader Raju Shetty of Swabhimani Shetkari Sanghtana, an ally of BJP-led NDA that is not in good terms with the saffron party, as well as Dalit leader Prakash Ambedkar, the grandson of B R Ambedkar. Both have accepted the invitation while Opposition leaders from Congress’ Ghulam Nabi Azad to CPI(M) General Secretary Sitaram Yechury are also attending the function among other leaders.

Sources said Yadav is likely to announce his plans to launch a forum after the name of the conference ‘Sanjha Virasat Bachao Sammelan’. They said one of the names being considered for the forum is ‘Save Composite Culture Forum’.

On Monday, Yadav also met CPI(M) General Secretary Sitaram Yechury with whom he had held discussions soon after Kumar snapped ties with Grand Alliance in Bihar, dealing a blow to opposition unity against Narendra Modi-led BJP.

The conference comes days after Yadav held road shows in Bihar. Several leaders close to him are being targeted by the leadership with 21, including Dalit leader and former minister Ramai Ram, being suspended from the party on Monday for their participation in Yadav’s road shows.

In the war of attrition, Yadav camp claims that it has the support of 14 state units. However debunking these claims, JD(U) General Secretary K C Tyagi said only five state units are recognised by the Election Commission.

On Saturday, JD(U) had removed Yadav as the leader of its Parliamentary Party leader while another close aide Ali Anwar Ansari, also a Rajya Sabha MP, was suspended from the party a day before after he attended a joint Opposition meeting called by Congress chief Sonia Gandhi.

(An edited version appeared in Deccan Herald website on Aug 15, 2017)

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