Patna: The rift within the Rashtriya Janata Dall widened on Wednesday with one of the factions hinting at quitting the party and floating a separate political front ahead of the 2020 Assembly polls.
The development is likely to cause trouble for Tejashwi Yadav, who has been trying to keep the party intact after his father, RJD chief Lalu Prasad Yadav, was sent to jail over the fodder scam case. Talking to this newspaper, a senior RJD leader and five-time MLA from Gaighat, Maheshwar Yadav, said the party leadership lacked experience and had lost its popularity among the masses. He also claimed a larger group in the party wanted to float a separate political front and support Nitish Kumar’s Janata Dal (United).
“Due to the current leadership, we suffered a humiliating defeat in the Lok Sabha polls. A maximum number of RJD leaders, almost 80 per cent, want to contest the Assembly polls in alliance with Nitish Kumar’s JD(U). We’ll disclose our strategy after the bypoll results”, Mr Maheshwar Yadav said.
Voices against Tejashwi Yadav have been rising after the RJD-led grand alliance suffered a humiliating defeat in the Lok Sabha polls. A section in the grand alliance, including the Hindustani Awam Morcha (HAM) led by former CM Jitan Ram Manjhi, has also been expressing disagreement over Tejashwi Yadav’s leadership.
Sources said that besides Maheshwar Yadav, many other top RJD leaders are also in favour of forming an alliance with the JD(U) and contesting the Assembly polls under the leadership of Mr Nitish Kumar.
A top RJD insider told this newspaper that “the party leadership is aware of the situation and may issue showcause notices to at least three prominent leaders for indulging in anti-party activities”.
He said the party was upset with Tej Pratap Yadav’s father-in-law Chandrika Yadav and Mohammad Ali Ashraf Fatmi’s son Dr Faraz for boycotting the membership drive launched by Tejashwi Yadav to strengthen the party’s voter base in the state.
“MLAs were given the target of enrolling at least 1,200 members each but three prominent leaders — Chandrika Yadav, Maheshwar Yadav, and Dr Faraz — didn’t show any interest in the membership drive, which was launched by Tejashwi Yadav after the Lok Sabha polls. The leadership may take action against such leaders”, the RJD insider told this newspaper.