Ever since the JD(U) snapped its 17-year-old ties with the BJP in June this year, the buzz in the Congress circles is that there could be a pre-poll alliance with Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar’s party for the 2014 general elections.
This impression also intensified after the Centre turned benevolent towards Bihar and offered different pro-poor sops to the Bihar government. Though Kumar’s demand for special category status is still under the UPA’s consideration, a recent central report showed Bihar as the second most least developed state after Odisha.
But many central Congress leaders are of the view that “there is many a slip between the cup and the lip” and that a decision on alliances will be taken by the party high command at an appropriate time.
As central leaders downplayed the speculation about a possible tie-up with the JD(U), there have been consistent demands from dominant quarters in the Bihar Congress for an alliance with the RJD of Lalu Prasad.
The leaders have maintained that post JD(U)-BJP break-up, the lethal non-Yadav and upper caste combination that had helped Kumar capture and retain power in Bihar in the last two elections no longer exists.
On the other hand, they argued that the RJD with the old combination of Muslim-Yadav has a strong chance of bouncing back in the state politics. This section is also of the view that an alliance between the RJD, the Congress and the Lok Janashakti Party of Ram Vilas Paswan would be a formidable one and could even repeat or better its 2004 performance. The three parties together had won 32 out of the total 40 Lok Sabha seats in Bihar that time.
However, it remains to be seen if the central leadership of the Congress will go with the RJD despite Prasad’s conviction in the fodder scam case, or strike a new alliance with the JD(U).