Lalu suffers double whammy: Close aide joins BJP, 6 RJD leaders JD(U) | india | Hindustan Times
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Lalu suffers double whammy: Close aide joins BJP, 6 RJD leaders JD(U)

Lalu Prasad suffered a crippling blow on Wednesday. While one of his closest confidantes and RJD general secretary Ram Kripal Yadav joined the BJP, six other senior party leaders went to his arch rival Nitish Kumar's JD(U).

india Updated: Mar 12, 2014 23:39 IST
Srinand Jha
Lalu Prasad

Lalu Prasad suffered a crippling blow on Wednesday. While one of his closest confidantes and RJD general secretary Ram Kripal Yadav joined the BJP, six other senior party leaders went to his arch rival Nitish Kumar's Janata Dal (U).

Former minister Shakuni Chaudhary is among the six who joined the ruling JD(U).

Shortly after Ram Kripal told newsmen in Delhi that the RJD had "lapsed into family rule and moved away from its core ideology of social justice", six party leaders drove down to the chief minister's residence in Patna, where he admitted them into his party's fold.

Besides Chaudhary, these leaders include Vijendra Chaudhary, Suresh Mehta, Amit Rana, Abu Kaiser and Ganesh Paswan.

Chaudhary's son Samrat, the chief whip of the RJD in the state assembly, had orchestrated the split in the RJD legislature party last month.

The dramatic turn of events reinforce theories of Prasad's weakening hold over party affairs at a crucial juncture.

Not too long back, Ram Kripal and Shyam Rajak (known as the Ram-Shyam duo) were considered as Prasad's closest confidantes. Rajak quit the RJD in the run up to the 2010 assembly elections and was elevated as a minister in the JD(U) government.

"The RJD is today a headless organisation (after Prasad's conviction in the fodder scam case) and the secular formation has already been weakened after Lok Janshakti Party (LJP) leader Ram Vilas Paswan's exit. Will Prasad be able to survive this latest double whammy," said a political observer.

More than this being a revolt against Prasad's hereditary politics, Ram Kripal's moves appear to have been inspired by the changing mood of the electorate in urban constituencies such as Pataliputra, from where he is likely to be fielded as a BJP candidate.

Over the past few years, Prasad's bête noire Nitish Kumar has been able to successfully and effectively breach the RJD camp, with a substantial chunk of present state ministers being RJD converts.

Among those who quit RJD for JD(U) are Bhim Singh, Ramai Rai, Bishan Patel, Narendra Narain Yadav, Shahid Ali Khan and Avdhesh Prasad Kushwaha.