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JD-U Sharad faction elects Gujarat MLA Vasava as acting President

The Janata Dal-United (JD-U) faction led by Sharad Yadav on Monday elected Gujarat MLA Chhotubhai Vasava as its acting President.

“The party’s National Executive has elected Chhotubhai Vasava as the JD-U’s acting President,” senior party leader Arun Kumar Srivastava announced at a press conference here.

He said the National Executive, chaired by party Vice President K. Rajasekharan, also declared all decisions taken by Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar as “invalid”.

Srivastava said the party’s National Council, which will be held on October 8 in New Delhi, will decide the future course of action and “will make it clear which is the real JD-U”.

Vasava, the JD-U’s lone MLA in Gujarat, had voted for Congress candidate Ahmed Patel in the state Rajya Sabha elections, which helped the Congress leader win.

Interestingly, the press conference flaunted the JD-U’s ‘Arrow’ symbol 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 told.

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.

To a query on all the Bihar JD-U MLAs and a majority of party MPs being with Nitish Kumar, Srivastava said: “The MLAs and MPs do not form the party organisation. They are just the crop of the party.”

He said the party will contest the Gujarat Assembly elections under Vasava’s leadership.

Vasava said that JD-U will form a coalition with other non-NDA parties like the Congress, Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M), Communist Party of India (CPI) and other like-minded parties in Gujarat.

Party MP Ali Anwar Ansari said he also met the Rajya Sabha Secretary General on Monday and sought time before his and Sharad Yadav’s case of disqualification on account of defection is decided.

“The Secretary General said that time would be given, though he did not say how much time,” he said.

“I don’t understand what is the hurry. As a tradition, the case for disqualification should be heard by the Rajya Sabha’s Ethics Committee and its decision is also tabled in the House. So far, the Ethics Committee has not been formed,” Ansari added.