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Sharad Yadav’s show of strength with opposition parties tomorrow

LiveMint logoLiveMint 16-08-2017 PTI

New Delhi: Leaders from opposition parties, including the Congress and the Left, are expected to attend an event on Thursday, hosted by rebel Janata Dal (United) or JD(U) leader Sharad Yadav, that seeks to save the “composite culture” of the country.

Top leaders of the Congress, the Left, Samajwadi Party, Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP), Trinamool Congress (TMC) and other parties opposed to the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) have been invited to the programme which is being seen as Yadav’s show of strength against his party chief Nitish Kumar’s decision to ally with the BJP.

Asked who would attend the meeting, he told reporters, “There would be hardly anybody from the opposition who will not come”.

Asserting that “composite culture” was the soul of the Constitution, which Yadav alleged was being “tinkered with”, he said similar meetings would be held across the country.

While refusing to answer questions on his disapproval of Bihar chief minister Kumar’s alliance with the BJP, the former JD(U) chief said the decision to hold tomorrow’s event was taken weeks ago, when his party was with the loose opposition group.

“The ‘sajha virasat bachao sammelan’ (save composite culture programme) is not against anybody but in the interest of the country. This is in the interest of 125 crore people of the country,” he said.

He cited incidents such as the suicide of Rohith Vemula and the disappearance of JNU student Najeeb Ahmed, besides suicides of farmers across the country, to suggest that the situation was tough for underprivileged people.

While supporting Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s comments against violence in the name of faith, Yadav said it was not reflected on the ground and Modi needed to tell his party’s governments to follow his dictum.

Sources close to him said invites had been sent to Sonia and Rahul Gandhi, Ahmed Patel and Ghulam Nabi Azad among others in the Congress, Sitaram Yechury of the CPI(M), Lalu Prasad of the RJD, Akhilesh Yadav of the Samajwadi Party, besides others.

The JD(U), which has asked Yadav not to hold the event, removed him as its parliamentary party leader in the Rajya Sabha when he continued with his campaign against the alliance with the BJP.

Yadav was accompanied by Ali Anwar Ansari, a Rajya Sabha member suspended from the parliamentary party by the JD(U), and Arun Shrivastava, recently sacked from the post of general secretary.

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