With the JD(U) back in the NDA, Lalu Prasad’s Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) plans to stitch together a new anti-BJP ‘grand alliance’ for Bihar in the run-up to the Lok Sabha polls, and the party is eyeing a tie-up with the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) and CPI(ML) to attract Dalits and non-Yadav OBC voters.
Lalu had launched a platform to get non-NDA parties together with his ‘BJP Bhagao, Desh Bachao’ rally in Patna in August 2017 but BSP chief Mayawati had then turned down the invitation, contending that her party would not share the stage with any other until the contours of an alliance and seat-sharing formula for 2019 elections are finalised.
Mayawati recently reiterated that the BSP will forge an alliance with any party only if it is offered a “respectable” number of seats, otherwise will contest on its own.
After defeating the BJP in alliance with BSP in bypolls to three Lok Sabha and one Assembly seats in Uttar Pradesh, Samajwadi Party (SP) chief Akhilesh Yadav has indicated that he is ready for any “sacrifice” to keep the alliance intact for the general election in order to defeat the BJP. But with no alliance confirmed yet in Bihar, BSP’s local leaders and workers in Bihar have started work at ground level to prepare for the Lok Sabha elections by reviewing booth-level committees.
Pointing out that Mayawati shared the stage with many other opposition leaders at the swearing-in of Karnataka Chief Minister H D Kumaraswamy “in an unexpected gesture”, an RJD leader said, “We are hopeful of a seat-sharing arrangement with the BSP (in Bihar) in Lok Sabha polls.”
The leader said an RJD-BSP alliance can help the opposition in more than half-a dozen Lok Sabha constituencies along the UP-Bihar boundary and also create a traction in their favour.
The BSP had received 7.65 lakh votes in Bihar in 2014 Lok Sabha polls, which increased slightly to 7.88 lakh in 2015 Vidhan Sabha elections, even though the party failed to win a single seat in either election.
The RJD leader also said that the party is looking at an alliance with the CPI(ML) considering the Communist party’s influence among people from most backward caste and Dalit communities. “There are several Assembly segments where CPI(ML) has committed voters among labourers and farmers,” the leader said.
For the Dalit votes, the RJD has also got support of former Bihar CM Jitan Ram Manjhi’s Hindustani Awam Morcha (HAM). The RJD had selected Manjhi’s son Santosh for nomination in Bihar Legislative Council in April this year.
HAM had contested 21 Assembly seats in alliance with the BJP in 2015 and Manjhi had managed to win the only seat for the party.
Courtesy: Indian Express