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Season of shifting political loyalties on in Bihar as 2019 Lok Sabha polls near

With a number of sulking leaders looking for opportunities to change loyalties on all sides, there are ample hints of more churning in the days to come, depending upon individual ambitions and requirements.

india Updated: Dec 31, 2018 15:42 IST
Arun Kumar
Arun Kumar
Hindustan Times, Patna
BJP’s sitting MPs Shatrughan Sinha (from Patna Sahib) and Kirti Azad (from Darbhanga) are almost certain to move over to GA, but RJD leader Tejaswhi Prasad Yadav himself said that the party had been getting feelers from a few more, though he did not disclose any name.(PTI File Photo)

It had happened prior to the 2014 Lok Sabha elections and it is happening once again in Bihar as the 2019 General Elections draw closer. Loyalties are changing fast.

Though candidates crossing over from one side to another is not new to Bihar politics, it may throw up interesting equations this time.

With a number of sulking leaders looking for opportunities to change loyalties on all sides, there are ample hints of more churning in the days to come, depending upon individual ambitions and requirements.

Last time, the RJD was at the receiving end when 13 of its MLAs turned rebel just before elections and approached the Speaker to be recognised as a separate bloc, much to the delight of the JD-U.

This time, the JD-U is in the NDA, but its older and smaller allies have moved to the RJD, Congress-led grand alliance in Bihar without any precondition of the number of seats they would get.

First, it was former chief minister Jitan Ram Manjhi’s Hindustani Awam Morcha (HAM) – Secular, and earlier this month it was the turn of former union minister Upendra Kushwaha’s Rashtriya Lok Samata Parrty (RLSP).

There are a couple of others, who have been waiting for the right opportunity to shift sides, while there are 2-3 others apprehensive about their prospects of getting tickets and might make a move once seat-allocation in the NDA was completed.

BJP’s sitting MPs Shatrughan Sinha (from Patna Sahib) and Kirti Azad (from Darbhanga) are almost certain to move over to GA, but RJD leader Tejaswhi Prasad Yadav himself said that the party had been getting feelers from a few more, though he did not disclose any name.

“Just wait. It is ‘Kharmas’ right now. Once it is over, seat allocation will crystalise and that will show who has found room and who has to find space elsewhere,” said a political leader. Kharmas is a month-long period, starting December 15 and ending January 14, considered inauspicious for initiating any new or important work in the Hindu calendar.

Rebel RLSP MP Arun Kumar, who won Jehanabad parliamentary seat twice, is still undecided about his next move.

He is playing his cards close to his chest, as he expects more political churning in the state in January second half. Sitting MP Pappu Yadav is also said to be in the lookout for a safe passage.

Independent MLA from Mokama and ‘bahubali’ Anant Singh, once close to the JD-U, has made his intentions clear of moving towards the GA. Though Tejaswhi Prasad Yadav is not happy with Singh’s reported maneuvers to get into GA fold, the Mokama strongman may end up on the Congress side or try his luck again as an independent from Munger seat to make it difficult for the NDA.

In 2015, Anant Singh had blamed RJD chief Lalu Prasad for his arrest in a murder case. In 2006, he had hit the headlines when he bought Lalu Prasad’s pet horse ‘Pawan’ at the Sonepur fair by offering a higher price to the customer, who bought it right there.

Prasad had initially refused to sell the horse to Singh.

Former director of AN Sinha Institute of Social Studies DM Diwakar said that such crossovers were governed by only one consideration – self-interest. “It is a manifestation of political opportunism. It never has any principle. Earlier, many moved to JD-U or BJP. This time, they are going the other way apparently sniffing anti-incumbency,” he added.

First Published: Dec 31, 2018 10:19 IST