"Party President Sharad Yadav has suspended Islampur MLA Rajiv Ranjan for six years considering his activities as anti-party. Yadav has directed all party leaders to maintain discipline and fight for social justice. There is no place for any kind of anti-party activities," JD(U) general secretary K C Tyagi said in a statement.
Rajiv Ranjan, who is an MLA from Islampur that falls in former Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar's home district Nalanda, had earlier written a letter to the state JD(U) president Basistha Narayan Singh in which he opposed a tie-up between JD(U) and RJD expressing strong reservation against the tie-up with RJD, which he alleged had created "jungle raj" (lawlessness) in Bihar during its tenure.
A few days back, Ranjan slammed the state government led by Jitan Ram Manjhi over corruption saying that in prevailing situation in the state, it is time to adopt a new law by the name of Right to Bribe in Bihar. In the 2014 Lok Sabha polls, JD(U) could win just two out of 40 LS seats in Bihar going down from its tally of 20 seats in 2009 Lok Sabha poll.
After the defeat, JD(U)joined hands with archrival RJD to take on a resurgent BJP and both Lalu Prasaad and Nitish Kumar jointly campaigned for the bye-election in Bihar for which voting took place yesterday. The suspension letter also gives a warning to other senior leaders making statements contradicting the party's stand.
"Yadav has also cautioned the top office bearers that they should avoid making contradictory statements," Tyagi said. JD(U) leader and former minister Shakuni Choudhary had said that former Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar should "quit politics rather than being insulted by Lalu Prasad".
The Kushwaha leader, who recently crossed over to the JD(U) from the RJD, had also said Lalu Prasad and Nitish Kumar have become "arrogant" and undermining him. Asked about prospects of the secular alliance in the bypolls, Chaudhary painted a grim picture and said "history is testimony to the fact that arrogant people have always faced doom".
Chaudhary's blunt comments on Nitish Kumar have not been taken kindly by the party. "The train of alliance has begun journey...those who do not want to ride the train shall get down on the platform as this journey will stop only on reaching Delhi," JD(U) spokesman Sanjay Singh, a close confidante of Nitish Kumar, had earlier said.
With the continuity of alliance between JD(U), RJD and Congress beyond the Assembly by-elections hotly debated,Sharad Yadav today said it would make a long journey and the Bihar experience would serve as an example for others to follow.
Bypolls to 10 Assembly seats in Bihar held yesterday will determine whether Narendra Modi wave is still working in the state or not or whether the Lalu-Nitish alliance can halt this juggernaut. The byelections are the first major political test after the general elections, which clearly bore a Modi stamp.