iconimg Wednesday, August 05, 2015

HT Correspondent, Hindustan Times
New Delhi, July 30, 2013
As the political temperatures soar, Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar is said to be toying with the idea of clubbing the assembly polls with the 2014 Lok Sabha elections. The assembly elections are due in May 2015. By advancing the poll dates, Kumar will have the opportunity to cash in on the “secular versus communal” debate, JD(U) sources said.

“The battle for or against BJP’s Narendra Modi will be won or lost in 2014 itself. If Modi’s projection helps the BJP strengthen its position in the Lok Sabha, there won’t be much for Kumar to fight for in 2015,” they added.

Scenarios concerning the re-configuration of political forces in the state are being keenly watched.

There are explicit signs that the JD(U) will have a formal or informal agreement with the Congress, with possible support from Ram Vilas Paswan’s Lok Janshakti Party (LJP) as well.

Rashtriya Janata Dal’s (RJD) Lalu Prasad – who has of late shown signs of gaining political ground -- is unlikely to join the combine even though it’ll be untenable for him to join hands with the BJP.

Both in the 2009 Lok Sabha and 2010 assembly elections in Bihar, the RJD-LJP alliance failed to produce any magic, but leaders of both parties assert that the alliance is intact. “I do not know about such speculation. We are hopeful that a secular front comprising the RJD, Congress and LJP will materialise,” RJD leader Ram Deo Bhandari said.

The LJP president also ruled out the possibility of breaking the alliance with Prasad. “Our alliance with the RJD is strong as a rock,” he said.

But JD(U) leader Sanjay Jha felt there were signs that Prasad was warming up to the BJP. “The BJP and RJD organised protests after the Bodh Gaya serial blasts and the mid-day meal tragedy which claimed 23 lives,” he pointed out.