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Acting JD (U) chief Chhotubhai Vasava – appointed to the post by Sharad Yadav’s faction – says party will explore tie up with Hardik Patel too

The political fortunes of the Sharad Yadav-led faction of Janata Dal (United) may be uncertain given that the Election Commission is yet to decide whether they have a claim on the party’s symbol but that hasn’t stopped them from making tall electoral claims.

On Monday, the party’s acting chief and Gujarat MLA Chhotubhai Vasava – who was appointed to the post a day earlier by the Sharad Yadav camp which claimed that Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar was being stripped off the responsibility – said that his faction of the JD (U) will ally with the Congress and other like-minded parties to contest the forthcoming Gujarat Assembly polls.

Vasava, a six-time MLA and popular tribal leader from Gujarat, had last made headlines when he ignored Nitish Kumar’s directive and voted for Congress’ Ahmed Patel in the hotly contested Rajya Sabha polls in his state. Vasava had then called Nitish’s decision to break the JD (U)-RJD-Congress Mahagathbandhan in Bihar and join hands with the BJP a “massive betrayal of the people” and vowed to continue fighting against the BJP and Kumar.

On Monday, Vasava said: We will align with the Congress and parties like the CPI(M) and CPI and try to defeat BJP” in the Gujarat polls due towards the end of this year. The acting JD (U) chief also said that he would explore the possibility of a tie-up with Hardik Patel – the face of the Patidar agitation in Gujarat who has also pledged to fight against the BJP in the state as it hasn’t given in to demands of the politically influential Patel/Patidar community for reservations in government jobs.

Asked about the possibility of an alliance with Sharad Pawar’s NCP which also has a lone MLA in the state, Vasava said: “It is with them (BJP)”, indicating that the Maratha leader’s party, which has enjoyed the fruits of power at the Centre in coalition with the Congress during the decade-long UPA regime could now formally join a BJP coalition at least in Gujarat.

Vasava said that the JD (U) and parties that it allies with in Gujarat will fight the BJP in Gujarat on a variety of issues, including demonetisation, GST and issues related to the recently inaugurated and politically controversial Sardar Sarovar Dam which the legislator claimed would “not benefit tribals but instead provide water to industrialists.”

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