The declaration of JD(U) leader Nitish Kumar as the CM candidate of the anti-BJP alliance in the coming Bihar polls promises to push a sizeable section of RJD supporters towards Madhepura MP Rajesh Ranjan aka Pappu Yadav.
Several RJD Yadav leaders in the Kosi-Seemanchal region of Bihar said they were unable to come to terms with the fact that the ‘secular’ alliance would be led by Kumar “under whom Yadavs have had a difficult time over the past nine years”.
The leaders, at present, do not want to be seen as publicly defying RJD chief Lalu Prasad who, they said, had accepted Kumar’s leadership apparently under ‘political compulsions’ and with some reluctance.
But there are many young Yadav leaders in the region who, unwilling to back Kumar as their leader, are veering towards Pappu, who has often indicated he aspires to succeed Lalu as the new leader of Yadavs.
Expelled from the RJD after he accused the party chief of promoting his children as his political heir, Pappu floated his own party, the Jan Adhikar Manch. On Tuesday, he declared the Nitish-Lalu combination his ‘enemy no. 1’ and appeared to court the BJP.
Many leaders in Seemanchal agree that Pappu, into his fifth term as MP, commanded a good following among the youth in the region and held the
potential to damage the prospects of the anti-BJP alliance.
Pappu has already indicated he is keen to put up candidates in the Bihar assembly poll under the banner of his fledgling party. If he agrees to do business with the BJP, many believe it would work to the NDA’s advantage.
“Our leader (a reference to Lalu) has betrayed us by giving in to Nitish and we are really upset,” said a senior RJD leader, adding. “This is akin to political hara-kiri.”
On the other hand, supporters of Pappu Yadav are visibly enthused by the developments. They feel Lalu’s decision to “cosy up” to Kumar will “hasten” the realisation of Pappu’s ambition to emerge as a tall leader of Yadavs.