Lalu Prasad's Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) has launched a concerted effort to jumble up Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar's support base among the 'mahadalits', while sending out feelers to the Congress as well.
Mahadalits is a special category created by the Nitish Kumar government comprising the poorest among Dalits.
Seeking intervention from minister of state for power Jyotiraditya Scindia, former union minister and senior RJD leader Raghuvansh Prasad Singh said on Thursday that it was "extremely worrying" that the Bihar government had taken no initiatives to replace 9,046 small transformers lying defunct in the state.
"Majority of the defunct transformers are located in mahadalit localities," Singh said in a letter.
Scindia informed parliament on Thursday that 9046 transformers of 10, 16, 25 and 40 KV capacity – installed under the centrally-sponsored Rajiv Gandhi Gramin Vidyutikaran Yojna (RGGVY) - were lying defunct in Bihar.
"No proposal for replacing the defunct transformers have been received by the central government," Scindia said in a written answer in the Lok Sabha.
"The task of maintaining or replacing defunct transformers is the responsibility of the Bihar government. But the state government has neither replaced the transformers in the last three years, nor has it sought funds from the centre for the purpose. In the process, the RGGVY is getting a bad name," Singh said in his letter.
Asking Kumar to take immediate steps to replace the defunct transformers with higher capacity (63 and 100 KV transformers), Singh said it was extremely important to light up homes of the mahadalits.
"Immediate instructions must be issued by you to the Bihar government," he added.
With the Congress having a choice between the RJD and the JD(U) as a pre-poll partner ahead of the 2014 general elections, the RJD is keen on projecting itself as a more effective and dependable ally.
"The mahadalits in the state are feeling cheated with JD (U) rule. Exploding the myth of the 'sushashan' (efficient governance) of the Kumar government will constitute a major campaign plank for the RJD for the 2014 elections," Singh said.