The Bihar Post

JD-U change of guard: Was Sharad sacked for tacitly backing Manjhi against Nitish during Bihar power struggle?

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PATNA: Outgoing JD-U president Sharad Yadav still had some three months of his three-year-long tenure left. He was completely “docile” and not disturbing his “boss” Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar as well. Yet, why he was shown the door and not allowed to even complete his full term?

Talks doing the rounds in the state political circles are that he may have been given the boot for his alleged move to tacitly support former chief minister Jitan Ram Manjhi during the bitter power struggle in February last year.

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Kumar who had offered him the throne when he resigned from the post citing poor performance of the party in 2014 Lok Sabha polls wanted Manjhi to resign to make way for him once again but the Dalit leader refused, leading to bitter battle for throne.

Yadav who was the JD-U president reached Patna to settle the issue and was asked to seek resignation from Manjhi but the latter refused to oblige him too. Later, however, he resigned from the post after he failed to arrange for the required number of lawmakers to stay in power. It was only then that he spilled the beans.

Manjhi has gone on record saying he was categorically advised against tendering his resignation by the JD-U president—an allegation which was later stoutly refuted by Yadav. It is not confirmed if it had any role to play in sealing Yadav’s fate, experts believe this could have been, saying Nitish Kumar is known for setting old scores in a very brute style.

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Apparently, the “revelations” did not go down well with Kumar who had backed Yadav against Fernandes.  Strangely, both the JD-U presidents were outsiders—while Fernandes belongs to Karnataka, Yadav comes from Madhya Pradesh.

Kumar is said to have meted out similar treatment to his mentor George Fernandes for his alleged move to object to his projection as the chief ministerial face of the NDA during the 2005 Bihar elections. Fernandes put his objections in 2005 and the very next year, he was unceremoniously removed as the JD-U national president.

A recently published book by Indian Express journalist Santosh Singh too throws enough light on it.

“After convincing Advaniji, (Arun) Jaitely and (Pramod) Mahajan came up with the idea of getting Atal Behari Vajpayee announce my projection at his scheduled Bhagalpur public meeting before the second phase of Assembly elections. Atalji was supposed to speak about two things—my projection and the kidnapping case of schoolboy Kislay. Vajpayeeji did praise me greatly at Bhagalpur meeting but forgot to talk about the main thing—My CM candidature. BJP eventually projected me but George (Fernandes) Saab created a flutter by saying that JD-U had not yet decided to project its leader. There was confusion because of George Saab not being kept in loop. But the confusion was over in three hours with Jaitely giving the full version of the story to George Saab, who later agreed on my name. BJP was surely embarrassed for a while. Sharadji (Sharad Yadav) was confused as he was not sure if CM projection would help NDA or not. I was a natural choice—I was a senior in the Bihar NDA hierarchy,” says the book “Ruled or Misruled: The Story and Destiny of Bihar” published by the Bloombury.

Image Credit: Supplied

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