The Janata Dal-United faction led by veteran leader Sharad Yadav has declared invalid all decisions taken by Nitish Kumar as JD-U president, terming his election to the post as technically invalid.
The faction also elected Gujarat legislator Chhotubhai Vasava as JD-U Acting President, senior JD-U leader Arun Kumar Srivastava told reporters here on Monday.
“Whatever decisions Nitish Kumar has taken after being elected party President are invalid, because Nitish Kumar’s election itself is not valid,” he told IANS about the decisions taken at the National Executive meet on Sunday.
“It is so because the Electoral Officer of JD-U, Anil Hegde, was appointed in an Office Bearers meeting, though in fact only the National Executive can appoint Electoral Officer. So all the elections presided by Hegde are invalid,” he explained.
Asked why they were raising the issue after Nitish Kumar decided to align with the NDA, and had not done it earlier, Srivastava said a large section of JD-U members had protested and petitioned the Election Commission against Nitish Kumar’s election last year, but he and a few others did not raise the issue publicly despite their reservations.
“We did not fully condone his elevation, but did not raise the issue publicly. I raised it internally in the meetings…See, parties are not formed overnight, a lot of toil goes into it. And it is not a child’s play to break a party. But there is a limit to everything,” he said.
Srivastava said the party’s National Council, which is the “supreme decision making body”, is going to meet on October 8 and will make it clear which is the real JD-U.
To a query on all the Bihar JD-U MLAs and a majority of party MPs siding with Nitish Kumar, Srivastava said: “The MLAs and MPs do not form the party organisation. They are just the crop of the party.”
“In the organisation, we are strong. A majority of state unit presidents, the National Executive and the National Council members are with us,” he added.
These are the same National Executive and National Council that were formed when Sharad Yadav was President, because Nitish Kumar did not form any party body, he said.
He alleged that the five state committees of which the Nitish Kumar faction is claiming support — Bihar, Jharkhnad, Kerala, Jammu and Kashmir and Dadra Nagar Haveli – have not been formed through fair elections but “by cheating”.
A day after Nitish Kumar formally took over as JD-U President on October 16 last year, a number of party leaders staged a protest in New Delhi, demanding that the Election Commission declare the organisational election of the party as “null and void”.
Hundreds of party workers had marched from Jantar Mantar to the EC office and submitted a memorandum alleging that party constitution was not followed in the organisational elections.
Interestingly, the press conference on Monday where Vasava’s elevation was announced, the JD-U’s ‘Arrow’ symbol was flaunted on its banner, though the case for the party symbol is being heard by the Election Commission where both the factions have given their representation.
“We have given another petition to the Election Commission on Friday (September 15). We have not received a communication regarding that from the EC so far. Our earlier petition was set aside by the EC on the grounds that it was not duly signed,” Srivastava said.
He insisted that the EC had not “rejected” their plea.
“We have sought some time from the EC to submit all the relevant documents. We will do that in due course,” he said.
He said by going with the BJP-led NDA, Nitish Kumar has only hurt himself more than anyone else.
“He (Nitish) was emerging as an alternate and an option at the national level. By merging with NDA he has lost all the prospects.