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Lalu acting as proxy leader to unleash ‘jungleraj 2’ in Bihar

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New Delhi: Lalu Prasad Yadav, RJD Chief and the former Chief Minister of Bihar got entangled yet again in a controversy when BJP alleged that he was acting as the ‘proxy’ leader and (mis)using his son’s political power.

The matter came up to light when Dr Sriram Singh, a civil surgeon wrote a letter to the Darbhanga Medical College and Hospital’s (DMCH) medical superintendent to reinstate recently removed Mamata staff workers. Singh alleged said that Lalu had instructed for reinstating the workers.

Earlier, Lalu made a surprise inspection to the Patna’s Indira Gandhi Medical Institute.

Notably, Tej Pratap, Lalu’s son, is the Health Minister of Bihar.

It might be mentioned that Lalu Prasad Yadav was barred from contesting polls for 11 years following his alleged involvement in the fodder scam. This order also prohibits him to have a direct say in the government’s official work.

Following the landslide victory of the RJD-JD(U) in the recent Bihar assembly polls, it was obvious that the former Bihar CM would greatly influence the functioning of the government.

It was undeniable that it was the shrewdness of the RJD leader that helped Nitish become the Chief Minister of Bihar. However, it was expected that Lalu would control the reins indirectly. Nitish giving prized ministerial portfolios to Lalu’s sons was an indication that Bihar was again coming under the control of the RJD stalwart.

Lalu’s new avatar of unauthorised entry into the administrative works gave the BJP to go for an outright attack on the state’s government. BJP had been vehement in their attack on the government claiming that this Lalu-Nitish regime would be  ‘Jungleraj 2’.

With the gruesome murder of a policeman in Vaishali district last week, BJP’s allegation seems to have some potential.

With the RJD supremo wielding his illegitimate supremacy in Bihar, it is the people of Bihar who feels cheated. They might be regretting voting for the grand alliance rather than BJP who promised of a change and “achhe din”.

Political pundits opine that Lalu and his partymen have been blinded by the power. There was a time when everyone thought that the ban on Lalu would end his political career. But the comeback proved them all wrong.

Lalu’s antics would not only hurt the sentiments of the voters but would also hand a weapon to the BJP leaders who are ready to unleash an attack to topple the government.

Lalu tried to do the same when his wife Rabdi Devi became the CM of Bihar. Nitish should remember the attitude of his present ally whom he had booted out earlier.

The nightmare that the Lalu-Nitish liaison would not work out seems to be coming true with both the leaders differing in their opinion on the Pathankot attack.

It will be BJP who would be in the driver’s seat when the wheels of the new government come off.

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Why JDU & BJP Coalition Will Remain Intact

JDU knows that this 15-16% votes is not enough to help the party and for the BJP too, only the 17% votes of upper castes are not sufficient

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Nitish Kumar with Narendra Modi.
Nitish Kumar with Narendra Modi.

By Sagarneel Sinha

There have been lots of discussions among the political circles that JDU led by Bihar Chief
Minister Nitish Kumar is upset with the BJP and trying to send signals to erst allies — RJD and the Congress. This led to speculations that Nitish may once again join the Grand Alliance (GA) leaving the NDA camp. Already, RJD’s new commander Tejasvi Yadav has clearly stated that Nitish led JDU will not be welcomed in the GA. Despite all the odds, if (suppose) GA partners accommodate Nitish, he wouldn’t be the driving force of the alliance as in 2015. Also, Nitish cannot afford to go alone like in 2014 when his party fetched only 2 seats!

Then which is the correct way for JDU? It is to go with the BJP in the upcoming 2019 polls.
JDU’s advantage in this case is the present situation of the BJP. Currently, the saffron party is not in a strong position as the party would be facing anti-incumbency from a strong RJD led alliance in the state. BJP’s traditional voters are the upper castes who account for 17% of the electorate. This votebank is not enough for the party to help to win elections. The main opposition party — RJD still commands over a larger votebank than BJP. RJD is still a dominant force among the Yadavs and the Muslims who account for 31% of the population. It means BJP has to minus the 31% votes and rely on the rest — 69%. Out of these, 16% are the Mahadalits — a large portion of whom generally hail Nitish Kumar as their leader. Also, there are Kurmis, an OBC group consisting of 4% votes — considered as the supporters of JDU. Nitish Kumar himself is also a Kurmi.

Nitish Kumar Invited to Join NDA by Amit Shah After JDU-BJP Tie-up in Bihar
Nitish Kumar Invited to Join NDA by Amit Shah After JDU-BJP Tie-up in Bihar.

JDU knows that this 15-16% votes is not enough to help the party and for the BJP too, only the 17% votes of upper castes are not sufficient. However, if these votebanks are joined together they form around 31-32%. Plus, to gain the extra votes, both the parties have the option to rely on the personal charisma of Nitish Kumar and Prime Minister Narendra Modi. However, there is a power tussle between the two allies to get a respectable share of seats.

This power tussle is because of a strong BJP which earlier used to be a junior ally. The 2014 Lok Sabha elections changed the political scenario of the state where BJP emerged as the largest party in terms of vote share and seats. JDU knows the reality of a new emerging BJP, though it is pushing hard to gain a respectable share of seats for the Lok Sabha elections. Instead, Nitish Kumar has another option — giving the bigger chunk to the BJP for the Lok Sabha elections and the latter playing the junior partner for the 2020 assembly elections if held timely. Given the current situation in the country, in a crucial state like Bihar, BJP can hardly reject JDU as the later still commands over 15-16% votes — a very crucial votebank for winning maximum seats in the 2019 polls. Importance of JDU can also be explained by BJP president Amit Shah’s visit to Patna to have breakfast and dinner with Nitish Kumar. Though in politics there are no permanent friends or foes, so any perfect prediction is impossible. But given the current situation, JDU and BJP parting their ways seems unlikely as both the parties are in need of each other as already highlighted by Amit Shah that the two allies would fight the Lok Sabha elections together. Smiling face of Nitish Kumar was also an indication that the meetings with Amit Shah were fine.