JDU family feud: Nitish Kumar confident he can woo reluctant Sharad Yadav

Though sources tell ThePrint that Nitish Kumar remains hopeful he can woo Sharad Yadav, the JDU leader is plotting his escape. 

Kumar Anshuman

Sources close to Nitish Kumar are hopeful that he can mend his rift with JDU leader Sharad Yadav, despite Yadav’s statement Monday that he is displeased with the Bihar chief minister’s decision to join the NDA.

Speaking publicly for the first time since Kumar broke from the Grand Alliance on July 26, Yadav said “This is not a happy situation for [our party]. The mandate given by the people of Bihar was for the alliance and not for a Government with the BJP. This is very unfortunate.”

However, sources close to Kumar have said they believe Yadav will eventually change his tune.

“Sharad-ji is not unhappy with Nitish Kumar,” senior JDU leader KC Tyagi told ThePrint. “If you notice, he hasn’t said anything against Nitish-ji. He is unhappy with the decision taken by the party.”

“There is a problem only [because] Sharad-ji and Nitish-ji have not sat together. Once they sit together and discuss things, everything will be alright in the party.”

On Monday the Bihar chief minister downplayed Yadav’s statement, adding that intra-party disagreements are part of the party’s democratic ethos and that the leaders could voice their differences during the party’s national executive meeting on August 19 in Patna.

Several leaders of rival parties—including the Congress, BJP and RJD—have courted Yadav in recent days, but the JDU leader has kept his silence except on one occasion. Sources close to Kumar tell ThePrint that they view this as a positive sign regarding Yadav’s future involvement with the JDU.

“Sharad-ji founded JDU along with other leaders to fight corruption and dynastic politics. How can he now change his own stand?” said Tyagi.

But Yadav may have different plans. Ali Anwar Ansari, a JDU MP aligned with Yadav, said he doesn’t think the JDU leader will rejoin Kumar.

“After I first opposed the decision taken by Nitish Kumar, Sharad-ji personally called me at his residence and supported my stand,” Ansari told The Print. “We are constantly in touch with each other and I don’t think he would now go with Nitish. It is possible only when [Nitish] leaves the BJP.”

Ansari would not confirm that he would be attending the party’s national executive meeting later this month. “We are yet to take a decision on that. Let’s see how things unfold in coming days, “he says.

Sources close to Yadav told ThePrint that the party leader is planning a display of strength in Delhi on August 17, two days before the party executive meeting in Patna. They did not confirm what precisely this display might entail.

Yadav is currently in talks with JDU leaders who are unhappy with Kumar’s decision and has even invited leaders of rival parties to join them at the event to form a united opposition. These leaders have yet to finalise the details of this opposition front, though sources close to Yadav confirmed that he would speak out against Kumar at the event.

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