Nearly half a dozen rebel legislators of Bihar's ruling JD-U, expressing resentment over functioning of the party, Sunday met party president Sharad Yadav here and informed him about their stand and grievances, said a party leader.Sharad Yadav, who arrived here from Delhi Saturday night, listened to the rebel legislators and assured them that their grievances would be addressed by the party, said a Janata Dal-United (JD-U) leader is close to Sharad Yadav.The rebel legislators, including Poonam Devi, Gayanu Singh, Ravinder Rai, Neeraj Bablu and Anil Kumar, met the party president. "The rebel JD-U legislators also discussed their future course with Sharad Yadav," the leader said.
Sensing growing resentment within the party ever since Chief Minister Jitan Ram Manjhi expanded the state cabinet last week, the JD-U is likely not to field its candidate in the by-election for three Rajya Sabha seats, which is scheduled for later this month.According to JD-U leaders, the party may put up Sharad Yadav for one seat and leave two other seats as it fears defeat of its candidates because of the resentment and possibility of cross-voting. Sharad Yadav lost the Lok Sabha election from Madhepura constituency last month.Party legislator Neeraj Kumar, considered close to Nitish Kumar, hinted at the likely stand of the JD-U when he requested the party not to field any candidate as the seats did not belong to the party.
The three seats were vacated after the Lok Sabha elections by BJP leader Rajiv Pratap Rudy, LJP chief Ram Vilas Paswan and Ram Kripal Yadav, who was an RJD MP but quit the party and contested as a Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) candidate and won.Rebel JD-U legislators have threatened not to support official party candidates other than Sharad Yadav.Two days back, Poonam Devi and Gayanu Singh said over 50 party legislators are in touch with them and threatened to support the formation of a new government in the state.
"We are not just five legislators, over 50 JD-U legislators are in touch with us because they are unhappy with the functioning of the party and the way Nitish Kumar is running the government and the party," said Poonam, JD-U legislator from the Digha assembly constituency.Without naming the BJP, Poonam, who was once considered close to Nitish Kumar, surprised everybody by saying the legislators will extend support to the formation of a new government if Manjhi government fell.
It was for the first time that five JD-U legislators -- Poonam, Gayanu Singh, Ravinder Rai, Madan Shahni and Raju Singh -- expressed their resentment over state cabinet expansion and targeted Nitish Kumar directly.
"Nitish Kumar is surrounded by sycophants and is rewarding new entrants in the party," Poonam said.Rai said it was solely Nitish Kumar's decision to end alliance with the BJP last year that badly affected the party's performance in recently concluded Lok Sabha polls.Ever since the chief minister expanded his cabinet, voices of dissent are giving sleepless nights to top leaders. Two JD-U legislators - Neeraj Kumar and Sanjay Singh - quit as party spokesperson to express their resentment.On Thursday, the JD-U dissolved its state executive committee and office bearers with immediate effect.