In its zero hour, RJD leaders talk of cutting ties with Congress
A day after Lok Sabha results, strains in the grand alliance surfaced with leaders of the Rashtriya Janata Dal ( RJD) talking of “lack of coordination” within the grand alliance and some even suggesting that regional parties should come together as a single outfit by severing ties with the Congress in a bid to counter BJP.
Since its inception in 1997 after breaking out of the Janata Dal, the RJD has thrown its worst electoral performance in this Lok Sabha polls, failing to win even a single parliamentary seat out of the 19 seats it contested in alliance with Congress, HAM(S), VIP and RLSP.
The RJD had won 17 seats in 1998, seven in 1999, 22 in 2004 election, four each in 2009 and 2014.
“We are unable to comprehend how we could not win a single seat when there were expectations that RJD alone would win 11-12 seats. It is quite surprising how we lost Araria , a seat we had won by a margin of 2 lakh votes last year in a by-election,” said Jagdanand Singh, a former minister and party’s nominee from Buxar who lost to BJP’s sitting MP Ashwini Choubey by a margin of 1.17 lakh votes this time.
Singh also hinted that EVM discrepancy, a charge opposition parties have made on many occasion previously, cannot be ruled out.
“ All aspects would be looked into. But EVM tampering is one issue, which has to be addressed,” he said.
RJD’s national vice-president Raghuvansh Prasad Singh strongly advocated that all regional parties should merge as a single entity by severing ties with Congress to check the BJP-led NDA.
“The emphatic win of the BJP and out defeat is a reminder that regional forces should now come together to form a single party by severing ties from the Congress. That is how we can stop the NDA in Bihar and other places. We have been defeated but not lost hope. The RJD and other parties would put a better fight in the assembly polls,” said Raghuvansh Prasad Singh, the former union minister who lost from Vaisali in the Lok Sabha election for the second time in a row.
Senior RJD leader and candidate from Darbhanga, Abdul Bari Siddiqui, is also of the view that the NDA performed well in the polls in Bihar because of the better co-ordination of allies. “In GA, all allies did not have synergy and faith on each other.” The defeat is, certainly, a time for us to introspect and reinvent our strategies,” said Siddiqui, who lost to BJP’s Gopaljee Thakur by a big margin.
Meanwhile, the RJD has called a meeting of all its MP candidates and legislators on 28-29 May to review the reasons behind the party’s rout in the Lok Sabha polls. “ We will review all the reasons behind the party’s poor show this election and issues would be discussed threadbare at the meetings to be chaired by Tejashwi,” said state RJD president Ram Chandra Purbe.