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Change of guard in JD(U), Nitish Kumar likely to replace Sharad Yadav as party president

India TV Politics Desk 10 Apr 2016, 8:32:09 IST
India TV Politics Desk

New Delhi: Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar is likely to replace Sharad Yadav as the Janata Dal (United)'s president today after the party's national executive meeting here.

JDU's secretary-general and spokesperson KC Tyagi said that everyone in the party wanted Nitish to lead the party.

“Consensus is building around Nitish Kumar. There is no other candidate in the fray for the position. All the party cadres want Nitish to become the president,” he said.

Tyagi informed that Sharad, in his capacity as president, had last week called a meeting of the national council to deliberate on a replacement. In the meeting, Sharad had refused to make any more amendment in the party's constitution to allow him another re-election as the party president.

Sharad was elected party president for a third term in 2013 after the JD(U) constitution, which till then had a provision for only two terms for the president's position, was amended.

Nitish had in 2006 played a key role in getting Sharad anointed as the party chief. At that time, Sharad had replaced Nitish's erstwhile mentor Fernandes, who had in 2003 become the first president of the JD(U) when it was formed following the merger of the Sharad-led faction of the Janata Dal and Fernandes's Samata Party.

The change of guard in JD(U) will indicate the changes in its internal dynamics at a time when Nitish is being seen to be preparing the party for the 2019 Lok Sabha polls along with election strategist Prashant Kishor, who has emerged as his most dependable ally after playing a vital role in the partys rout of BJP in 2015 Bihar assembly polls.

Apart from making Nitish the party president, the national executive committee will also discuss the party's merger with Ajit Singh's Rashtriya Lok Dal (RLD) and Babulal Marandi's Jharkhand Vikas Morcha-Prajatantrik (JVM-P).

Under Sharad’s third tenure soon after it began in April 2013, JD(U) broke up with BJP after Nitish made clear his strong reservations on Narendra Modi, who was then tipped to be the saffron party’s prime ministerial candidate.

JD(U) suffered a humiliating loss in 2014 Lok Sabha elections but bounced back in the 2015 Assembly polls after striking a new alliance with Lalu Prasad Yadav-led RJD and Congress.