New Delhi, Aug 13: JD(U) Sharad Yadav continues to flex muscle ahead of the August 19 showdown with Nitish Kumar at the party’s national executive committee meet. The faction led by the 74-year-old claims to be backed by 14 state units of JD(U), who would pitch for the ouster of Nitish for joining hands with the BJP.

Senior JD(U) leader Arun Srivastava, who was recently expelled as the party’s Gujarat unit chief, said Nitish has lost support among the heads of at least 14 JD(U) state units across the nation. By joining hands with the “communal BJP”, he has violated the founding principles of the party, Srivastava added.

On Nitish’s claim that the party is not recognized by Election Commission outside Bihar, Srivastava told PTI, “We will not leave the party. Nitish Kumar himself says that the JD(U) does not exist outside Bihar. Then he should form a new party for Bihar. He should not try to capture the party which always had a national presence.”

Sharad Yadav, on Saturday, was sacked as the JD(U) parliamentary leader in Rajya Sabha, being replaced by senior party lawmaker RCP Singh. JD(U) spokesperson Ajay Alok further said, “If there is any shame left, Sharad Yadav should resign from Rajya Sabha.”

Apart from sacking Sharad as the parliamentary leader, JD(U) also suspended dissident MP Ali Anwar from the party. According to reports, the Nitish camp is mulling the option of taking same action against K Veerendra Kumar, the party’s Rajya Sabha MP from Kerala.

Commenting on the action being taken against him and his supporters, Sharad said, “I am neither afraid of this ‘sarkari’ JD(U), nor the BJP. They cannot erase the identity of Sharad Yadav. When Indira Gandhi could not scare us, then who are they?”

Sharad, however, ruled out the option of quitting JD(U) on his own, saying, “Why should I leave? And who is he (Nitish) to remove me? I have given my blood and sweat to establish this party.”