In a major setback to the JD-U, former Assembly Speaker Uday Narayan Chaudhary on Wednesday resigned from the party months after revolting against the party leadership.

Chaudhary who comes from the Dalit community was unhappy with chief minister Nitish Kumar ever since he returned to the NDA in July last year and was also upset about what he mentioned as “a sudden spurt in atrocities against the Dalit class and crime against women”.

Chaudhary, once a close confidante of chief minister Kumar and served as the Assembly Speaker for 10 years, is the second Dalit leader to quit the NDA in recent weeks.

“I have nurtured the party for over 20 years but I am aghast at the party’s deviation from its core principles and commitment to the welfare of the downtrodden.

There has been a sudden spurt in atrocities against Dalits and women, the latest incident being the molestation of a Dalit girl in Jehanabad,” Chaudhary told journalists on Wednesday while announcing to quit the party.

He alleged the grassroot and loyal party workers were feeling demoralised and suffocated within the JD-U while those with money power were being promoted at the cost of dedicated workers. He also wondered at the mysterious silence of the government over the rights of the Dalits.

“The reservation in promotion for Dalit community has been scrapped while there is no reservation in judiciary yet the government is silent over the issue,” he alleged.

On Tuesday, he also joined a rally to protest recent Supreme Court judgment on the SC/ST (Prevention of Atrocities) Act.

That he won’t stay with the JD-U had become clear when he recently joined a function which was addressed by rebel BJP leader Yashwant Sinha.

He also has shown soft corner towards incarcerated RJD chief Lalu Prasad and announced to install Tejashwi Yadav as the next chief minister of Bihar.

Earlier in February, former Bihar CM and Hindustani Awam Morcha chief Jitan Ram Manjhi had broken away from the National Democratic Alliance to join the Grand Alliance.