Senior JD(U) leader Uday Narayan Chaudhary quits party

Chaudhary, 65, has been critical of the party ever since Chief Minister and JD(U) president Nitish Kumar returned to the BJP-led NDA fold.

Former Bihar Assembly speaker Uday Narayan Chaudhary today announced his resignation from the primary membership of the party, citing "demoralisation of cadre" and patronage to "dhankuber" (those with deep pockets) as the major reasons.

The JD(U), however, maintained that the "coming or going of anybody did not affect the party".

Chaudhary, 65, has been critical of the party ever since Chief Minister and JD(U) president Nitish Kumar returned to the BJP-led NDA fold. The veteran leader alleged that his decision to quit the party followed "a spurt in atrocities against Dalits and crimes against women".

"I have nurtured the JD(U) over the last 20 years. But I have been aghast at the party's deviation from its core principles and commitment to the welfare of the downtrodden. There has been a spurt in atrocities against Dalits and women, the latest incident being the molestation of a girl in Jehanabad," Chaudhary told reporters here.

"The party cadre, especially the dedicated workers, is getting demoralised while the dhankuber (those with deep pockets) are being promoted. In view of these things I have decided to give up my primary membership of the party," he explained.

Chaudhary, however, did not speak about his future course of action.

A former loyalist of Kumar, Chaudhary was instrumental in averting a split in the party in 2015 when the then chief minister Jitan Ram Manjhi refused to make way for Kumar, who had stepped down for a few months owning moral responsibility for the JD (U)'s debacle in the 2014 Lok Sabha polls.

Of late, however, the senior leader has been openly critical of the party line and seen hobnobbing with those in the opposition camp.

He was seen sharing the stage with former BJP leader Yashwant Sinha at a meeting of the Rashtra Manch here last month, where the latter announced his decision to quit the party in the presence of leaders like RJD heir apparent Tejashwi Yadav.

Often referred to as the Dalit face of the JD(U), Chaudhary yesterday joined a rally, organised by social organisations from the historic Gandhi Maidan to the Raj Bhavan to protest against the recent Supreme Court judgment on the SC/ST (Prevention of Atrocities) Act.

On occasions, he also supported RJD supremo Lalu Prasad, who is serving jail sentence in fodder scam cases, much to the embarrassment of his own party.

Rubbishing Chaudhary's allegations, JD(U) deputy leader in the state Assembly, Shyam Rajak, said "there has been no upeksha (indifference) towards Dalits and women. The government has been working in accordance with the apkesha (expectations) of these segments."

Rajak, a Dalit leader himself, asserted that Chaudhary might have made the decision because of personal reasons.

"His decision has nothing to do with the party's policies. The party will remain unaffected by the coming or going of anybody. The JD(U) derives its strength from the principles it stands for," he added. 

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Senior JD(U) leader Uday Narayan Chaudhary quits party

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