Contradictory statements are coming from the leaders of the RJD and the JD(U) with regard to the merger of the two parties. A senior JD (U) minister Ramai Ram advised the two parties to merge in order to put up a united fight against the BJP. Otherwise, he warned, Modi Express would overrun Bihar like Maharashtra and Haryana.
Nitish Kumar, who seems to have his back against the wall, says the merger is not on the agenda. His hand-picked Chief Minister, Jitan Manjhi, is increasingly taking up free stance. It’s believed he’s playing his independent card because he understands he will have to shed his chief ministerial ambition under the present dispensation, particularly if the RJD and the JD (U) decide to merge.
The political conjecture is that Jitan Manjhi may keep his route to Ram Vilas Paswan open in case he is kicked out by Nitish’s JD (U) or by the merged party. In that case, he may be co-opted by the Bihar unit of the BJP and offered the Chief Ministership if the BJP wins.
In the meantime, the national president of the JD (U), Sharad Yadav, is reported to have said that the efforts were on to unite all constituents of the "Janata Parivar" to form a "major political party." There are hopeful signs of a positive result, he indicated.
The Samajwadi Party, JD(U), RJD and Janata Dal-Secular have formed a united front in parliament. Clearly, Nitish and Sharad are on divergent notes. It’s quite possible Sharad, in alliance with Lalu, may try to sideline Nitish or have his say diminished in the merged party. After all, Nitish had also tried to scuttle Sharad when the latter was asked to contest election from any constituency other than Madhepura. Sharad not only stayed put in Madhepura, but following his ignominious defeat, manipulated his way into the Rajya Sabha. Apparently, Sharad played the Yadav card very well.
I have known Sharad Yadav from a distance since the time he was nominated president of the Yuva Janata at a convention in Bhopal. I believe it was 1980. Right after the JP movement, the Emergency, and the installation of the Janata Party in power at the center, people had expected the Janata Party to follow all democratic principles and measures that the Congress had violated over the years.
But, unfortunately the Janata Party proved to be another version of the Congress Party. At that Yuva Janata convention, the first in its history, Sharad was not elected as the president of the Yuva Janata by the delegates. Instead, all on a sudden his name was announced as the president of the Yuva Janata from the stage. No nomination, no scrutiny, no debates among the contestants.
Delegates mostly from Delhi, UP and Bihar objected to the method and protested. I was a delegate along with many others representing the Jawaharlal Nehru Univ. (JNU) unit of the Yuva Janata. The goons of Sharad Yadav in Bhopal roughed up the protesters and chased them out of the venue.
Yes, Sharad was one of the young leaders like Lalu, Nitish and scores of others who gave their shoulders to the JP movement. But, what they did to the ideals of JP, Gandhi and Lohia, is every one’s knowledge..
Sharad was later on drafted by Lalu from Madhya Pradesh to the politics of Bihar. He made him contest elections from the Yadav-dominated safe constituencies of Madhepura-Saharsa area. Like Ram Kripal Yadav until recently, Sharad was the closest ally of Lalu. But he deserted Lalu and switched with Nitish. An opportunist like Sharad would have been easily eclipsed in the politics of MP. The caste politics of Bihar (particularly his community support) kept him alive.
Throughout his long political career, he has done substantially nothing except for falsely championing himself as a well-wisher of the OBCs. In the last election cycle, Nitish was about to dump him by shifting him to another constituency, but again Sharad was able to manipulate by playing his "caste card" and contested from Madhepura constituency.
In 2014 Lok Sabha election, Madhepura showed Sharad the door and preferred Lalu-sponsored Pappu Yadav instead. As an incumbent, however, he did gather substantial number of votes.
If I could speak on behalf of the self-respecting, educated, law-abiding and civil members of the Yadav community of Bihar, Sharad Yadav must be prevented from entering and participating in the politics of Bihar. He has falsely styled himself as a socialist follower of Gandhi, Lohia and Jay Prakash.
He doesn’t tell his credulous caste-men and OBC followers that the Janata Party had emerged out of the anti-Emergency movement and was based on Lohia’s anti-Congressism. If there’s any move to the merger of the "Janata Parivar," the BJP had to be a part of that family because the Jan Sangh (the former version of the BJP) too had joined the Janata Party at the advice of Jay Prakash Narayan, the inspirer of our generation. Now, Sharad, Lalu and Nitish have all preferred to sit in the lap of Sonia’s Congress.
In recent years, Sharad opposed reservation for women in parliament and elsewhere expressing fear that the seats reserved for women would be taken over by women of Forward castes. In the Western democracies, a character like him would be regarded as a political impostor and a racist. He has done nothing for Bihar or for his community; has only thrived on the divisive caste politics of Bihar.
Sharad is without a doubt a slur who brings a bad name to the OBC's and has caused people's anger in general against the Yadav community. To re-emphasize, he was rightly punished by the voters of Madhepura, but he maneuvered his way into the Rajya Sabha by blackmailing Nitish on the Yadav card.
Sharad’s activities, physical or political, can't be stopped democratically or constitutionally because he's an MP and a citizen of India. However, through the Gandhian method, members of the OBC community, in general, and the Yadav community in particular, must not delay in offering Satyagraha and peaceful protest wherever he goes.
Citizens' education and activism is a must.
The Biharis must send a strong message to him and the country that the days of political predators in Bihar are over.
A native of Darbhanga, Dr. Binoy S. Prasad holds a PhD from the University of Missouri-Columbia, USA. A Fulbright scholar, his teaching and research interest has taken him from Mithila Univ., Delhi Univ., and JNU in India; Johns Hopkins Univ., James Madison Univ., Univ. of Madison-Wisconsin in the USA to Ryerson Univ. and McMaster Univ. in Canada.
He administers a Facebook page: Obama: Overseas Bihari Association for Meaningful Action.