In a setback for Sharad Yadav-led JD(U) faction, Rajya Sabha Chairman M Venkaiah Naidu has rejected a petition demanding disqualification of JD(U) Rajya Sabha leader R C P Singh.
Naidu said a close reading of the petition by former Rajya Sabha MP Ali Anwar "clearly reveal that the petition is not possessed of any merits" and that no such inference can be drawn against Singh "by applying any deeming fiction to the effect, in the backdrop of the material produced that he voluntarily gave up the membership of the political party to which he belonged".
Yadav and Anwar, who revolted against Nitish Kumar for walking out of the grand alliance with Congress and RJD in July last year to join hands with BJP, were disqualified on 5 December, 2017 on a petition by Singh, who was elected JD(U) Parliamentary party leader in place of Yadav.
Yadav and his supporters are now planning to form a new party and have approached Election Commission for registering it. They have suggested a couple of names for the party, including Samajwadi Janata Dal, Apana Janata Dal and Lok Tantrik Janata Dal, to the EC.
In his petition, Anwar had claimed that Singh has allied with Kumar for "sheer personal gain and political opportunism". He also alleged that the "autocratic and undemocratic manner" of functioning Kumar faction has reduced them to a minority splinter group. Singh responded that the petition was "misconceived and deserves no consideration" and that it was only a "lecture on standards of morality and ethics".
Naidu, in his order on January 23, found no merit in Anwar's petition and said, "the only anti-party activity alleged...is his steadfast support of Nitish Kumar and his decisions of withdrawing from the Mahagathbandhan and aligning with the BJP."
"As such, leaving or joining of any political alliance by political parties is not the same thing as joining or leaving a political party. Therefore, joining or leaving a political alliance or a 'gathbadhan' (alliance) or for that matter a 'mahagathbandhan' (grand alliance) would not fall within the purview of the anti-defection law," he said.
Naidu also said the contention that the petitioner and others were the real JD(U) and that Kumar and his supporters had abandoned the party by breaching the party constitution and principles is also "not tenable", as the Election Commission recognised the group led by Kumar as JD(U).