Tariq Anwar is 3rd’s face

PATNA: Senior NCP leader and former Union minister Tariq Anwar is the face of the so-called third front comprising the Nationalist Congress Party and the Left parties. There is widespread speculation in political circles that Anwar may even emerge as the Chief Minister face in case neither the National Democratic Alliance nor the Grand Alliance manages to get a majority in the Assembly elections. Opinion polls have predicted that both the alliances are likely to get an equal number of seats. Political experts said that even if the third bloc gets 30-40 seats, then the Grand Alliance will have no choice but to support Anwar. A JDU Rajya Sabha member said, “Our objective is to stop the BJP from coming to power in Bihar and in case of a hung verdict, we will explore the option of supporting the third bloc. In that case, Tariq Anwar will be an acceptable name for both Laluji and Nitishji since he is a Muslim.” Madhepura MP Pappu Yadav, who recently formed the Jan Kranti Adhikar Morcha and is likely to join the third bloc, also said that Tariq Anwar will be the best choice for the post of CM in case the third bloc formed the government.

RS uncertain for Sharad

PATNA: The results of the Bihar Assembly elections will decide the fate of JDU president Sharad Yadav, whose Rajya Sabha tenure is ending in 2016. Bihar sends 16 members to the Upper House, 12 of whom are currently from the Janata Dal United. According to JDU sources, even if the party does exceedingly well in the elections and manages to form government once again, it is unlikely that all the five JDU RS members whose tenure is ending in 2016 will be nominated again. Apart from Yadav, the other four RS MPs from the party are K.C. Tyagi, R.C.P. Singh, Pawan Verma and Ghulam Rasool. “This time we are contesting on fewer seats than what we did in 2010 and hence it will be difficult to nominate all the five again even if we return to power. The RJD too will seek its share when it comes to sending people to the RS,” a JDU MLC said.

Pappu is in wilderness

MADHEPURA: Madhepura MP Pappu Yadav, who floated the Jan Kranti Adhikar Morcha after his expulsion from the RJD, has no takers in Bihar politics. The NDA refused to accommodate him as it considered him to be the face of Lalu Yadav’s jungle raj and thus a liability. Most BJP state leaders also felt that he is now at the last leg of his political journey and the influence that he used to wield in the state in the 1990s and early 2000s has waned. Besides, including Pappu Yadav’s party would have further complicated the seat-sharing process in the NDA. A BJP MLA said that his party was very particular that it would contest 160 seats: “If we included Pappu, the seats allotted to our allies LJP and RSLP would have to be further cut, leading to a friction.” Sources close to Pappu Yadav said that the “strongman” was expecting 20 seats from the BJP and was surprised at being ignored. Even though Pappu Yadav is talking to the NCP and the SP for alliance, many of his close confidants are looking for greener pastures, one of his associates said.

It’s Paswan vs Manjhi

Although Ram Vilas Paswan and Jitan Ram Manjhi are both part of the NDA, the two leaders cannot see eye to eye and are apparently rivalling each other to emerge as the tallest Dalit leader of the state. Paswan’s Lok Janshakti Party, however, seems to have leapfrogged Manjhi’s Hindustani Awam Morcha in the race by getting 40 seats to contest in the Assembly elections, double of what the BJP allotted to HAM. “We have won round one. Despite strong bargaining by Manjhi and his supporters, their demand of 40 seats was turned down by the BJP. When the results are declared, I will be very surprised if the HAM candidates are able to win on more than 10 seats. The results will further strengthen Paswan’s position as the undisputed Dalit leader of the state,” a senior Patna based LJP functionary said. However, HAM leaders have a different take on the matter. “Emerging taller than Paswan is Manjhi’s long term goal. Numerically, Manjhis are stronger than Paswans in Bihar. Give Manjhi some time, wait for July 2016 (when the Rajya Sabha tenure of 5 Bihar MPs end), you may find him as a member of the Naremdra Modi cabinet,” a former JDU MLA, who has now joined HAM, said.

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