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JD(U) Rajya Sabha member Ali Anwar Ansari, who was critical of the party's alliance with the BJP, was on Friday suspended from its parliamentary party for attending a meeting of opposition parties convened by Congress chief Sonia Gandhi. Party spokesperson K C Tyagi also accused Gandhi of "exploiting" the dissidence in the JD(U), saying it is against "political decorum".
He also said the Congress president was trying to "interfere" in the JD(U)'s internal matters. Asked if the JD(U) would take disciplinary action against Sharad Yadav, its most high-profile leader to have come out against party chief and Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar's decision to ally with the BJP, he said it would like him to express his differences over the development at its national executive meeting in Patna on August 19. He also made light of Yadav's public meetings in Bihar, saying he is addressing RJD workers and not of the JD(U). Yadav, who is the party's leader in the Rajya Sabha, is likely to part ways with JD(U). He had yesterday claimed that the real JD(U) is with him while Kumar heads 'sarkari' faction. Ansari, Tyagi said, had attended the meeting despite his party severing its ties with the Congress-led UPA and joining hands with the BJP. Leaders of 16 opposition parties, led by Congress president Sonia Gandhi, met on Friday to deliberate on evolving an "alternative narrative" to counter the BJP. Ansari had criticised Kumar's decision to walk out of the JD(U)-RJD-Congress Grand Alliance in Bihar and form a government with the BJP. He is a two-term Rajya Sabha member and his tenure ends in April next. Ansari has said he is opposed to the BJP's social and economic policies and is ready to face any punishment if the party so decides. Suspension from the JD(U) parliamentary party means that he will be relegated to back benches in the Rajya Sabha and will no longer be a member of different parliamentary committees. Though it may amount to little as his tenure comes to an end during the next budget session.