Patna : Bihar’s ruling Janata Dal-United JD(U) on Monday suspended 21 members, including former minister Ramai Ram, for six years on charges of anti-party activities. The suspended members are accused of supporting rebel leader Sharad Yadav, who has opposed Chief Minister Nitish Kumar’s decision to tie up with the BJP.

Among the leaders suspended are Arjun Rai, a former MP from Sitamarhi, former MLA Raj Kishore Sinha and former MLC Vijay Verma. Two district presidents and five block level presidents are also in the list. Bihar JD(U) President Vashistha Narayan Singh issued a statement naming the 21 who were stripped off their primary membership.

The JD(U) on Saturday removed Sharad Yadav, who opposed the party’s decision to ally with the BJP in Bihar, as its leader in the Rajya Sabha and replaced him with R.C.P. Singh, a trusted lieutenant of Nitish Kumar. On Friday, the JD(U) suspended its Rajya Sabha member Ali Anwar Ansari from the parliamentary party after he attended a meeting of opposition parties convened by Congress chief Sonia Gandhi.

According to JD(U)leaders, the Monday suspensions come as the members had accompanied Sharad Yadav during his three- day visit to Saran, Muzaffarpur, Madhubani and Darbhanga districts to meet party supporters and understand their mood over Nitish Kumar’s decision.

“The JD(U) is not just Nitish Kumar’s party, but also mine,” Yadav had said earlier and had claimed that “the real JD(U)” was with him and the one with Kumar was “sarkari”.

Meanwhile, Yadav’s camp is also gearing up to take action against Kumar and has claimed the support of 14 of 17 state presidents.  The Yadav faction has called a national convention in Delhi on August 17, two days before Kumar is scheduled to formally join the NDA. Among the issues that are likely to be discussed at the national convention include claiming the JD(U)’s election symbol.

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