In a display of defiance against Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar, senior JD-U leader and former party president Sharad Yadav on Thursday declared he was still with the Grand Alliance of the RJD and Congress.
"I still stand with Mahagathbandhan (Grand Alliance) that was given a mandate by 11 crore people in Bihar in the 2015 assembly polls to rule for five years," Yadav told the media after landing at the Patna airport from Delhi.
Hundreds of his supporters, including some JD-U leaders, welcomed Yadav as he came out of the airport, shouting slogans in his support.
Two former JD-U legislators, including former minister Ramai Ram and Rambadan Rai, were also in the crowd. Not a single JD-U legislator was present.
Without naming Nitish Kumar, Sharad Yadav said: "The decision to join hands with the BJP and form a government in Bihar was against the mandate given in the 2015 assembly polls against the BJP-led NDA.
"I was personally hurt and pained by (the decision)," he said. "I had also vigorously campaigned for the Grand Alliance."
Yadav is on a three-day visit to eight districts in Bihar including Patna, Muzaffarpur, Samastipur, Supaul and Madhepura.
He said he won't speak any more on the subject. "I will speak more when I visit people."
Earlier, the ruling Janata Dal-United on Wednesday distanced itself from Yadav's visit.
"Sharad Yadav's visit to Bihar is his personal initiative. The JD-U has nothing to do with it," JD-U state President Vashisht Narain Singh said.
JD-U leaders started targeting Yadav since last week after he spoke out against Nitish Kumar's decision to embrace the Bharatiya Janata Party.
Apart from Sharad Yadav, two JD-U Rajya Sabha MPs — Ali Anwar Ansari and Virender Kumar — have also voiced their opposition to Nitish Kumar's decision to join hands with the BJP. Both are in touch with Sharad Yadav.