State has benefited from JD(U)-BJP alliance: Nitish

Bihar Chief Minister and JD President Nitish Kumar

The Election Commission on Friday settled the symbol row within Janata Dal (United) by recognising the group led by Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar as the real party entitled to use its reserved symbol "arrow".

The EC's verdict comes as a final nail in the political coffin of Yadav who, despite having barebone support of a handful of disgruntled former JD-U leaders in Bihar, has maintained that he was the real JD-U while Nitish Kumar was an outsider who belonged to the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).

Sharad Yadav-led Janata Dal (United) on Saturday announced its decision to tie-up with the Congress party to contest election on eight to 10 seats in western Gujarat where the socialists have a presence. The camp, led by Sharad Yadav, had staked claim to the symbol ever since disagreements crept up between the two leaders in August.

The poll body gave the order after hearing both parties on the petition of lone Guiarat MLA from JD-U, Chhotubhai Vasava, who is the working president of Yadav's faction.

Sharad Yadav
Bihar Chief Minister and JD President Nitish Kumar Sharad Yadav

"As per the Commission's record, Nitish Kumar is the President of the party, elected in 2016, as per the information furnished by the party under Sub-section (9) of Section 29A of the Representation of the People Act, 1951", the poll panel said in its order.

Nitish and Sharad parted ways after the former chose to join hands with the BJP in July, triggering a battle for the control of the party.

The JD (U) has some pockets of support in the tribal regions of Gujarat, and while Mr. Vasava says that this support was tied to him and not any party symbol, Mr. Yadav vowed to fight on to retrieve the "arrow". Nitish's faction has made a decision to contest on its own. It submitted that the Commission should look into the numerical strength of the National Council of the party constituted in 2013.

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