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