<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>In what is being seen as punishment for his disapproval of Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar’s decision to re-join the BJP-led alliance, Sharad Yadav has been replaced by Nitish’s close aide RCP Singh as the Parliamentary Party leader of the Janata Dal-United (JDU) in the Rajya Sabha. All eyes are now on the National Executive meeting, to be held on August 19.A day earlier, Nitish had suspended party deputy leader Ali Anwar Ansari in the Rajya Sabha for attending a meeting of Opposition parties, convened by Congress chief Sonia Gandhi.At the August 19 meeting, besides taking a final call on “rebel leaders”, the JDU is expected to announce its merger with the BJP-led NDA. BJP president Amit Shah had extended the invite to Nitish during their meeting in Delhi on Friday.Meanwhile, in a war of words, Ansari attacked Nitish on Saturday for taking the “suicidal” decision of joining the BJP camp and said many JDU members were unhappy. In a defiant tone, he questioned Nitish’s authority for taking the “dictatorial” decision of removing Yadav from the position without holding any party meeting, and said it was time to take the battle to the masses.Rejecting Ansari’s allegations as baseless, K C Tyagi, Nitish’s aide in Delhi, said the entire Bihar unit, including all MLAs, MLCs, national executive members, district committees members, and the party cadre, were with Nitish.Yadav, however, refused to comment on the development. The former JDU President, who concluded his three-day Bihar yatra to gather support for the Mahagathbandhan, brushed aside questions by asking reporters to have tea with him.Earlier on Thursday, Yadav had said that the split in the Grand Alliance had really hurt him. “The Mahagathbandhan had a mandate of five years. People’s trust has been broken,” he said, adding that there were two factions within the JDU — the ‘sarkaari’ faction led by Nitish, and the other one led by the people.After Yadav arrived in Bihar, he had received support from the Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) President Lalu Prasad Yadav. Some JDU functionaries, however, alleged that he had brokered a deal with Lalu to get his son an RJD ticket from the Madhepura constituency for the 2019 elections.The veteran lader of many battles is now expected to open his cards at the Sanjhi Virasat Bachao (Save Common Heritage) conclave, to be held in New Delhi on August 17, where he has invited the leaders of all Opposition parties, including Congress, Left, RJD, TMC, SP, BSP, BJP, INLD, and so on.While Nitish confidants are sure that Yadav will avoid the August 19 meeting, his future course of action remains to be seen.Also, talks have been doing rounds that to bolster Nitish’s stature in Bihar for future elections, he may be made the convenor or co-convenor of NDA, a position once enjoyed by George Fernandes and Sharad Yadav himself. As of now, there is no such position in the NDA.Meanwhile, PM Narendra Modi will be meeting Nitish again in August-end to discuss the Bihar package. Sources said Modi might open Centre’s coffers for several schemes in the irrigation, electricity, road construction, and backward area development sectors, to get a firmer grip on the alliance in Bihar.

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Nitish Kumar ousts Sharad as JD-U RS leader