As Ni­tish Plans Na­tional, Lalu’s Hands-off Pol­icy Looks Omi­nous

The Economic Times - - Pure Politics -

New Delhi: Lalu Prasad’s RJD is learnt to have taken a dim view of his Bi­har ally JD(U)’s ef­forts for a na­tional foray by merg­ing with Ajit Singh’s RLD in UP and Bab­u­lal Marandi’s JVM in Jhark­hand. Ac­cord­ing to a se­nior politi­cian, this is why Prasad has been not in­volved in the lat­est merger ef­forts of Janata splin­ter groups too.

Prasad’s hands-off pol­icy con­trasts with the en­thu­si­asm he showed a year ago for merger of Janata fac­tions such as RJD, JD(U), SP, JD(S), INLD and SJP. When Mu­layam Singh Ya­dav threw the span­ner into that ef­fort, it was Prasad who con­tin­ued ef­forts to win over the SP leader till the end. Ac­cord­ing to a source, when Kumar’s lat­est merger plans for JD(U) was an­nounced, the RJD lead­er­ship made its un­hap­pi­ness known. “The orig­i­nal and the only plan was to limit the al­liance to Bi­har and not to ex­pand it be­yond Bi­har ei­ther jointly or through uni­lat­eral ef­fort,” an in­flu­en­tial RJD leader is learnt to have con­veyed to JD(U).

RJD’s ob­jec­tion looks omi­nous and may be the be­gin­ning of a rift with its Bi­har coali­tion part­ner with which it has in­built con­flict of in­ter­est, es­pe­cially with Kumar try­ing to po­si­tion him­self for a na­tional role for the 2019 Lok Sabha polls.

Since Kumar’s plan will have Bi­har as his take-off base, there is al­ready talk in the Janata Pari­var whether Prasad, whose RJD con­trib­uted with its larger so­cial base to make the al­liance sweep the Bi­har polls, will lend his po­lit­i­cal-pitch to help Kumar re­in­force his na­tional foray.

“Dur­ing the last polls in Bi­har, RJD out­matched JD(U) in the num­ber of seats and vote-share. But Laluji kept his com­mit­ment to help Kumar be- come the CM. But such gen­eros­ity can­not be taken for granted,” said a leader. Fur­ther, Kumar’s “na­tional am­bi­tion”, sources said, “is bound to come into con­flict with Prasad’s plans to po­si­tion his sons — one of them is the deputy CM and the other a min­is­ter in the Kumar Cabi­net — for larger lead­er­ship role in Bi­har by ex­pand­ing RJD’s strength in the state be­fore the next polls. “Laluji is not groom­ing his sons to make them al­ways play sec­ond fid­dle to Ni­tishji.”.

Since Kumar’s foray into UP will ir­ri­tate MSY, many in the Janata Pari­var are cu­ri­ously watch­ing whether Mu­laya­mandPrasad­would­soonre­dis­cover their po­lit­i­cal friend­ship.

RJD’s ob­jec­tion to Ni­tish’s merger plans looks omi­nous and may be the be­gin­ning of a rift

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