National

Realignment of political forces on cards in Bihar

| | Updated on: Jan 01, 2014

A realignment of political forces appears to be on the cards in Bihar, which could offset existing permutations and combinations in the State where social equations are changing fast after the ruling Janata Dal (United) severed ties with the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance.

Though Congress has given indications of shedding its antipathy toward an alliance with Lalu Prasad’s Rashtriya Janata Dal, it appears to be dragging its feet on the issue as a number of top party leaders are wary of a tie-up with the ‘tainted’ leader.

An indication of the same came on Tuesday when Prasad met Congress President Sonia Gandhi but did not get any assurance on an alliance except that she will meet him again to discuss the issue.

Senior Congress leaders P Chidambaram, Jairam Ramesh and AICC in-charge for Bihar, C P Joshi, a close aide of Rahul Gandhi, are said to be apprehensive of the fallout of the alliance on Congress’ anti-corruption plank.

The argument is that at a time when Congress has taken credit for the passage of the Lokpal Bill and Rahul Gandhi has talked about bringing an anti-corruption code, the party may find it difficult to ally with RJD after Prasad’s conviction in the fodder scam.

“There is a clear indication that we will go in for an alliance in Bihar this time. However, some more clarity is needed about which party we are going to ally with,” said a leader, who is part of the consultations.

Ram Vilas Paswan’s Lok Janshakti Party, which had fought the last Lok Sabha poll in alliance with RJD, does not appear keen on stitching an alliance with Prasad’s party now and, if sources are to be believed, it has opened communication channels with Nitish Kumar’s party in Bihar.

“The opinion of most LJP leaders is that the party enters into an alliance with JD(U) and tries to bring Congress in as well. An alliance of Congress-JDU and LJP is most formidable, as Nitish Kumar’s party has made considerable inroads among Extremely Backward Castes and Mahadalits. Moreover, he has a clean image,” an LJP functionary close to the party chief said.

“With the Aam Aadmi Party phenomena having a bearing on the national mood, going with convicted Prasad’s party could be damaging. Moreover, RJD does not appear to be in a mood to shed its big brotherly attitude. Their leaders appear to have been left free to attack LJP. However, the party has left the final decision on Paswan,” the functionary said.

From the JD(U) side, party MP K C Tyagi, Shyam Rajak and former JDU State chief Rajiv Ranjan Singh alias Lalan Singh are in touch with LJP leaders.

Sources said the LJP chief was not happy when Prasad projected himself as the face of the RJD-LJP alliance in the 2010 Assembly elections that saw its rout and has ever since been thinking of an alternative.

After the drubbing in the 2009 Lok Sabha elections in which Paswan even lost his seat from Hajipur, the LJP chief could enter Rajya Sabha only with the help of RJD votes, a fact which weighed heavily for the alliance during the 2010 Assembly polls.

There is a view in the LJP that Paswan paid back for it in the 2010 Assembly elections by agreeing to make the RJD chief the face of the alliance. The heartburn in the LJP is also due to RJD “insisting” on certain seats.

Published on January 01, 2014

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