Widespread dissension has surfaced among JD(U) legislators and party leaders over alliance with Lalu Prasad's RJD for the bypoll in 10 Assembly seats, party sources said today. JD(U), RJD and Congress officially announced entering into alliance yesterday for the bypoll in 10 Assembly seats going to vote on August 21. JD(U) MLA from Islampur in Nitish Kumar's native Nalanda district, claimed that as many as 65 party MLAs out of a total 116, were against the party joining hands with RJD against whom Kumar and the party had fought in the name of ending "jungle raj".
"Legislators will take a major decision after August 25 (when election process for bypoll will be over)," he told PTI. Ranjan, second term MLA from Islampur who had written a letter to the state party President Basistha Narayan Singh recently against alliance with RJD, said the tie-up has been imposed on the party by a few leaders who he alleged have given up principles for the sake of power. He said he and other MLAs who are opposed to the alliance with RJD would not quit the party but would "try to take over the party in their own hands." Rebel JD(U) MLAs Gyanendra Singh Gyanoo and Ravindra Rai described the alliance as "fraud" against voters who overwhelmingly supported Nitish Kumar in 2010 Assembly poll.
Gyanoo and Rai, prominent leaders of the group of 18 dissident JD(U) MLAs who voted for Independent candidates in recent Rajya Sabha poll against official candidates, claimed "there is widespread anger among party MLAs and workers over joining hands with RJD known for 'jungle raj'." Meanwhile, a section of JD(U) leaders including two state executive committee members--Raj Kumar Singh and Ramvinod Singh-- issued a statement announcing their decision to quit the party and join Rashtriya Lok Samata Party headed by Union minister for State Upendra Kushwaha on August 3. Two other signatories are senior leader Manoj Lal Das Manu and former Secretary Kamlesh Singh Batkhari.
"Nitish Kumar who has played with the sentiments of committed party workers and masses has grown arrogant," they said. "Parting company with BJP was individual decision of Nitish Kumar and none of the party leaders were consulted. Whosoever protested the decision was shown the doors," they said in the statement.