The Nitish-Lalu marriage of convenience is based on caste-religion arithmetic. However, whether this relationship sustains the pressure test ‘“ an interesting show ‘“ is yet to be seen.
They came together due to politics and grew apart because of it. The once sworn enemies are now sharing stage together after 20 years. Janata Dal (United) chief Nitish Kumar and Rashtriya Janata Dal supremo Lalu Prasad Yadav are once again brothers.
Today, the two leaders shared a dais and sipped tea of friendship in Hajipur at a rally for JD(U) candidate Rajendra Rai. Although they arrived at the venue separately, they shared a chopper to Mohiuddinagar where they campaigned for RJD candidate Ajay Kumar.
Defending their new bonhomie, Lalu said, “People said Nitish Kumar went for help to his big brother Lalu Yadav. Well who else will he come to?”
Nitish was quick to add that to attack a bigger enemy you remain united. “Good days were promised, but where are the good days? People are still waiting. Good day’s haven’t come for people, but have come for some BJP members. The government will not reduce inflation, they will only save their seats,” he said.
The two leaders will hold five public meetings in total, at Hajipur, Mohiuddinagar, Narkatiyaganj, Chapra and Mohania, as part of their campaign for the assembly by-polls to be held on 21 August.
Interestingly, they are helping their common friend Congress as well via their campaign. Reportedly, the joint campaign on 17 August at Narkatiyaganj, Chapra and Mohania would be to seek votes for Congress candidate Mohammad Fakhruddin, RJD’s Randhir Singh and JD(U)’s Chandra Shekhar Paswan, respectively.
Under a seat sharing pact for the 10 assembly seats going to the poll, Nitish Kumar’s JD(U) and Lalu Yadav’s RJD will contest four seats each and the Congress will contest two.
They hope that their complex politics will make a dent into the BJP’s advance in the state – once a stronghold of RJD.
It should be noted that the BJP and its allies had won 31 of the 40 Lok Sabha seats in Bihar in May, with a vote share of 35.8 per cent. Partners RJD-Congress and the JD(U) together had 45 per cent.
The BJP-LJP alliance did well due to the split in the anti-BJP vote in western and southern Bihar, but the alliance did not do as well in eastern Bihar, where Muslim votes went en bloc against the BJP-LJP-RLSP alliance.
Lalu and Nitish reckon that should give them an edge in the by-elections, being seen as a semi-final before next year’s state elections.
But one thing is for sure – all this would not have been possible if not for Narendra Modi.
Lalu and Nitish are together today to fight their common enemy Modi who won the elections by a landslide victory costing the duo their powerful position in the political arena.
While Lalu was already in jail due to fodder scam and his sympathy base was snatched by Modi during election campaigns, Nitish had to give up his chief ministership on moral grounds after the thumping victory Modi received.
The defeated leaders joined hands just before Rajya Sabha polls were to be held and they have now strengthened this relationship further to ward off the looming political irrevalence.
The Nitish-Lalu marriage of convenience is based on caste-religion arithmetic. However, whether this relationship sustains the pressure test – an interesting show – is yet to be seen.