News for Bihar’s grand alliance: RJD weighs ‘go it alone’ option for 2019 LS poll
After advocating unity of Bihar’s ruling ‘grand alliance’ till after the 2019 Lok Sabha poll, the RJD leadership, on Sunday, appeared to hint at the possibility of going it alone in that electionUpdated: Mar 29, 2017 14:55 IST
PATNA The RJD seems to be weighing the option of contesting the 2019 Lok Sabha poll on its own strength. It will consider doing so if the rift’ within Bihar’s ruling grand alliance (GA) widens and there is lack of consensus over the PM candidate of the proposed secular block to take on the BJP.
This new possibility - some would call it a gambit, arose amid speculation that the RJD’s GA partner, the JD(U) was keen to push its national president and Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar for the top post
The RJD’s strategy to be lead player in the three party coalition in the run up to the 2019 poll, became evident on Sunday when deputy CM Tejashwi Prasad Yadav reportedly asking his party men, whether the party had the wherewithal to contest the 2019 poll alone.
The query ran contrary to RJD chief Lalu Prasad’s recent assertion that there was ‘no rift within the GA’ and alliance would remain intact till after the 2019 poll.
Some RJD leaders, however, claimed Tejashwi had only talked of strengthening the RJD organizational base by 2019, so that the party could regain its pole position.
Tejashwi had earlier raised hackles of the GA partners, by claiming the three party coalition won the November 2015 Bihar assembly poll because of Lalu Prasad’s own vote base and his impeccable secular credentials. The JD (U) countered this, saying the GA won due to CM Kumar’s image as pro- development man with a secular image.
Nonetheless, there were clear indications that many among the RJD’s top brass were in no mood to allow the JD (U) to take centrestage in uniting secular forces to fight BJP in the 2019 poll, by propping up Kumar as a best candidate for the PM’s post.
There is also the realisation that the RJD had suffered a setback due to the SP-Congress alliance rout in the UP assembly poll and is under pressure to stay relevant a strong regional entity vis a vis CM Kumar’s bid to carve a pan India image as a potential PM candidate.
“ We will talk to all secular parties, including TMC chief Mamata Banerjee, BSP chief Mayawati and SP veteran Mulayam Singh Yadav, to carve out a new secular bloc to fight the BJP in 2019 poll. We will decide on the PM candidate together’’, Prasad said on Sunday, indicating he was ready to be the rallying force of the secular block.
Prasad also slammed the BJP for appointing Yogi Adityanath as CM of UP despite the latter’s hardline image.. “A wrong precedent is being set by waiving loans of farmers . Why isn’t PM Narendra Modi waiving the loans of farmers across the country,” he asked.
The proposal for conducting parliamentary polls along with assembly polls was a big conspiracy, he alleged. He wondered if Yogi’s move to get the CM’s residence in Lucknow purified happened because Akhilesh and dalits had inhabited it.
On the BJP’s Ram temple agenda, Prasad said the saffron party would never construct the temple as it was just a ‘ Dudharu Gai ( milch cow) for the party to raise the bogey and garner political dividends in the name of religion.
The RJD meet saw senior party leader and former minister Raghuvansh Prasad Singh once again going all guns blazing on various issues, including CM’s Kumar’s prime ministerial ambitions and governance issues.
“A PM candidate should be decided by all. Some people should shed their ego and form a united secular front to combat the BJP’s divisive agenda,” he said.
The opposition BJP was quick to react to the deputy CM’s ‘go alone’ option. “The GA won because of RJD chief ‘s mass base. Had Nitish Kumar enjoyed a mass vote base, he would not have joined hands with RJD after snapping ties with the BJP in 2013,” said Union minister Giriraj Singh.