NEW DELHI: In further signs that the JD (U) is heading for a split, the party's Bihar unit on Monday suspended 21 members, considered loyalists of senior leader Sharad Yadav, for "anti-party activities".
Reports said the 21 party members were suspended by state unit president Vashistha Narayan Singh, but under an hour later, it emerged that he too has been suspended by the JD (U).
The move comes after the JD (U) last week suspended Sharad Yadav as its leader in the Rajya Sabha (RS) and RS member Ali Anwar from its Parliamentary party. They, too, were suspended for anti-party activities.
Aftershocks from JD (U) chief Nitish Kumar quitting the 'grand alliance' with the Congress and RJD clearly continue to shake the party. Yadav and Ali have publicly criticised the switch Nitish made last month.
Just last week, after a high-voltage election for an RS seat in Gujarat, Yadav signalled approval of the fact that a Congress party member and not a BJP member won one of the seats. This, despite the fact that the JD (U)'s official line was that it would support the BJP candidate.
Yadav has said more than once that Nitish sundering the 'grand alliance' was tantamount to "betraying" Bihar's people because they "firmly voted against" the BJP.
"I don't agree with the decision in Bihar, it's unfortunate. The mandate by the people was not for this," said Yadav, days after the 'grand alliance' split.
Surprisingly, it was the JD (U)'s Bihar unit president Vashistha Narayan Singh who had said it was a "necessary move" for the party to suspend Yadav.
"(The move) was important due to (Sharad) Yadav's recent actions. It was a necessary step because being a leader, if a person indulges in anti-party activities, it has to be condemned unanimously," said Bihar JD (U) president Vashishtha Narayan to ANI.
Narayan is one of the 21 members suspended by the party on Monday.
As for Ansari, he was suspended for attending a meeting of opposition parties convened by Congress chief Sonia Gandhi last Saturday. Ansari has said he is opposed to the BJP's social and economic policies, and is ready to face any punishment if the party so decides.
Ansari's suspension from the JD (U) Parliamentary party means that he will be relegated to back benches in the Rajya Sabha and will no longer be a member of different Parliamentary committees.