In a last ditch attempt to remain party president, Bihar Chief Minister Laloo Prasad Yadav yesterday called a meeting of the party national executive in Delhi on June 8, two days before the election for party president in which he himself is a candidate.
Even before invitations could be sent out to executive members, the anti-Laloo camp led by Sharad Yadav and former Prime Minister H D Deve Gowda made it clear that they would boycott the meeting.
Prasad claimed the meeting would have nothing to do with Janata Dal elections and it would only discuss the national political situation. His opponents ridiculed this idea by saying it was too late in the day to discuss political situation.
Laloo Prasad has called the executive only once during his year-long presidentship.
Meanwhile, the Delhi High Court yesterday sought details on the appointment of party president Laloo Prasad, working president Sharad Yadav and returning officer P K Samantray and fixed June 6 for disposing of the case relating to the partys presidential election. Later, Sharad Yadav who is the sole challenger of Laloo Prasad in the presidential election, refused to comment on the calling of the national executive or the courts order.
Nevertheless, he did not hide his displeasure on the timing of the national executive.
Senior leaders who were active in the last two days to bring about an agreement on a third candidate came in for a sharp attack from the Sharad Yadav group who called them cats, waiting for an opportunity to pounce on the meat - that is party presidentship.
Sharad Yadav himself yesterday turned soft on Laloo Prasad on a personal level, targeting his ire on the mediators and the advisors of the Bihar Chief Minister.
Presidents of the Punjab, Jammu & Kashmir and Chandigarh units of the party openly supported Sharad Yadav and said they would stay away from the June 8 national executive meeting. These leaders were critical of Laloo Prasad for not giving time to party organisation because of his pre-occupation in Bihar.