On July 27, when chief minister Nitish Kumar will be busy releasing the report card of his government to showcase its achievements over the last decade, its main ally, the RJD, will be out on the streets enforcing a bandh in support of its demand for the release of caste census data.
Is it yet another sign of something brewing between the two alliance partners?
The BJP was quick to view it as discontent between two ‘unnatural alliance partners”.
“What kind of an alliance is this? RJD will call Bihar bandh, while JD(U) will blow its own trumpet the same day. It is an indication of the chasm between the two,” said senior BJP leader Sushil Kumar Modi.
Senior JD(U) leader and minister Vijay Choudhary, however, said that the report card function would be over by noon and that should not be viewed as ‘incompatible’ with the RJD bandh.
“We have cancelled all other important functions and departmental engagements on July 27 in view of the bandh. The report card function was fixed earlier. It will be a centralised function for a couple of hours that would remain unaffected by bandh,” he added.
RJD chief Lalu Prasad also tried to downplay it, saying the report card release would not take place at Gandhi Maidan. “It will take place in the secretariat and you all can go and cover it, while the bandh will be for a larger cause of caste census data,” he told the media.
Senior RJD leader Raghuvansh Prasad Singh, who has been quite critical of JD(U)’s Nitish-centric campaign, said that the release of the report card would not require movement of vehicles in the city. “Press people can go to cover it. Nobody will stop them,” he said adding when JD(U) president Sharad Yadav had announced to sit on a fast with Lalu Prasad, it meant “support to the bandh”.
Hindustani Awam Morcha (HAM) - Secular leader Shakuni Choudhary, on the other hand, said there was no meeting point between Prasad and Kumar. “All that is being propagated in the name of alliance is a sham. The day they come together in reality, it will be the eighth wonder of the world. Nitish Kumar was instrumental behind Prasad’s political death,” he added.
Barely a few days ago, RJD chief Lalu Prasad had thrown an ‘iftaar party’ on the same day that another alliance partner, Congress, was hosting one in Delhi. Understandably, Lalu Prasad remained in Patna, while Nitish was present at the Congress iftaar, raising more speculations in a poll-bound state. Though Prasad tried to defend it, saying he had asked Kumar to go to Delhi, the opposition played it up.