JD(U) is set to elect a new president in its National Council meeting here on April 10, bringing an end to the over 10-year long tenure of Sharad Yadav, who has decided not to seek a fourth consecutive term.
“Sharad Yadav as party president has completed his three successive terms. He has now refused to make any amendment in the party constitution so as to elect him for the next coming term,” party spokesperson K C Tyagi said in a statement today.
Yadav, one of the founder leaders of the party along with Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar, has been at the helm since 2006 and was reelected for a third term in 2013 by amending the party’s constitution which then allowed a maximum of two tenures.
There is a buzz in the party that Kumar himself may become the party chief as he seeks to expand its footprints beyond Bihar with a merger with Ajit Singh-led RLD and former Jharkhand chief minister Babulal Marandi-led Jharkhand Vikas Morcha.
Sources close to Yadav said he had conveyed to Kumar his view that he was not keen on continuing after leading the party for 10 years and that a new person should be put in command.
It was with the support of Kumar that Yadav became the party chief for the first time in 2006 after ousting its then head George Fernandes in in an election and then was elected again in 2009 and 2013.
The change of guard in JD(U) will indicate the changes in its internal dynamics at a time when Kumar is being seen to be preparing the party for the 2019 Lok Sabha polls along with election strategist Prashant Kishor, who has emerged as his most dependable ally after playing a vital role in the party’s rout of BJP in 2015 Bihar assembly polls.
Though the party chief’s tenure is of two years, elections in several states delayed the organisational polls and it recently conveyed to the Election Commission that it will complete the process by June 30.
The EC has in turned asked the party to send to it all the details of organisational elections by July 15.
Under Yadav’s third tenure soon after it began in April 2013, JD(U) broke up with BJP after Kumar made clear his strong reservations on Narendra Modi, who was then tipped to be the saffron party’s prime ministerial candidate.
JD(U) suffered a humiliating loss in 2014 Lok Sabha elections but bounced back in the 2015 Assembly polls after striking a new alliance with Lalu Prasad-led RJD and Congress.