Patna: Call it the aftereffect of Narendra Modi’s ‘tsunami’ sweeping the Lok Sabha elections that Lalu Prasad and Nitish Kumar, who had been baying for each other’s blood before the poll results, are now eager to join hands to defeat their common enemy, the BJP. After the Rajya Sabha bypolls, both have hinted it time and again to reach an understanding for the assembly elections due in Bihar next year.
With just 15 months left, the ruling JD (U) is trying hard to recover the lost ground in the parliamentary polls with former CM Nitish Kumar devoting his time on making a road map for the party faced with dissension.
“Options are open for an alliance with the RJD,” said Nitish in response to Lalu’s oft repeated statement about RJD and JD (U) tie-up. The two leaders have not met so far recently but, sources say, they are in regular touch and have possibly discussed the pros and cons of the possible electoral tie-up.
Nitish seems hardly bothered about some of his party leaders opposing the alliance move. “Those who have reservations are free to go wherever they want to,” he said. Islampur MLA Rajiv Ranjan recently wrote to party’s state chief Bashistha Narain Singh that majority of JD (U) leaders and workers were opposed to any electoral alliance with the RJD and asserted that it would harm the party’s interest. Unlike him, others could not have courage to express their views, Ranjan claimed.
Lalu, on many occasions, has said the two parties would be in a better position to shatter BJP’s dream of capturing power in Bihar, too. The RJD chief claimed his party garnered 1.7 crore votes in the Lok Sabha polls and JD (U) encroached its 25% votes. “Now is the time for all the Mandal parties to join hands to take on the Kamandal party,” he keeps saying.
JD (U) national president Sharad Yadav, who was believed to be instrumental in pursuing Lalu to support JD (U) in the RS bypolls, said the political atmosphere in the country was changing and all the parties having links with the Janata Party or Janata Dal should forge alliance in the larger interest of the social harmony and national integrity. He favoured a broader understanding among regional parties in Bihar and UP.
Sources said Nitish is giving top priority to rejuvenating the party and making its strong presence felt in the areas where traditionally the JD (U) had little presence due to the alliance with the BJP.
In 2010 assembly elections, RJD and JD (U) had garnered 18.84% and 22.58% votes, respectively. Even though the JD (U) had alliance with the BJP, the saffron party could get only 16.49% votes. RJD and JD (U) jointly got 41.52% of the votes polled despite the fact that both the parties had almost similar vote base.
During a discussion with the new party office-bearers and working committee members on Saturday, Nitish said the biggest challenge is to counter the BJP’s rumour mongering. Another challenge is to set up JD (U) units in over 100 assembly constituencies where the party never contested due to an alliance with the BJP.