Another RJD MLA joins JD(U); 13 desertions in a month
Desertions from the RJD ahead of assembly polls in Bihar continued on Tuesday when another party MLA, Virendra Kumar, joined the ruling JD(U), taking the total number of legislators, including MLCs, who have recently bolted the Lalu Yadav-led party in the state to 13.
JD(U) leader and Munger MP Rajiv Ranjan Singh, alias Lallan Singh, who inducted the MLA from Teghra assembly segment into the party, said, “Several other MLAs are sending feelers. If JD(U) decides to provide a free entry, there will be a virtual stampede in RJD.”
Seven MLAs and five MLCs of RJD, which leads the opposition Grand Alliance, have already joined JD (U) in the last one month. This includes Parsa MLA Chandrika Rai, the estranged father-in-law of Lalu Yadav’s elder son Tej Pratap Yadav.
Chandrika Rai is son of former chief minister Daroga Prasad Rai.
“The RJD tally will be worse than 2010. It is like product which has no takers,” Lallan Singh said.
RJD, however, challenged Munger MP’s claim. “Such inductions and invites are indicative of desperation. JD(U) has now become a clone of BJP and, like its partner, can go to any length to encourage desertions. When a leader switches sides, it is hardly an endorsement of a winning team. Rather, it’s a last-ditch attempt to stay relevant in electoral politics at any cost,” said Mritunjay Tiwari, media coordinator of RJD.
Given the seat constraint in alliance politics, the Nitish Kumar-led JD(U) is seriously hamstrung in extending an open offer to sitting RJD MLAs, especially after the recent demand aired by BJP MPs during their interaction with national president J P Nadda favouring a 50:50 seat sharing formula with JD (U).