RJD is finding it hard to keep its own flock intact, with desertions becoming an everyday affair.
Patna: Is the NDA headed for a cakewalk in this year’s Assembly elections in Bihar? Well, the way Mahagathbandhan has ceased to be even a loose gathbandhan would suggest the same. The demand for a coordination committee is long pending and even the leadership of Tejashwi Yadav is disputed. On the other hand, the RJD is finding it hard to keep its own flock intact with desertions becoming an everyday affair within the party. Minutes after the resignation of five MLCs from the party and their joining the JDU, senior party leader Raghuvansh Prasad Singh left all party posts. On 27 June, senior RJD leader and one-time trusted of Lalu Prasad Yadav, Vijender Yadav also left the party.
On the other hand, the other constituents within the Mahagathbandhan, too, are sulking on the issue of being relegated. HAM supremo Jeetn Ram Manjhi remains a sulking man and has been losing no opportunity in praising CM Ntish Kumar. That’s a mammoth transformation possibly engineered by prospects of certainty within NDA and uncertainty within the Mahagathbandhan. Even the JDU was quick to respond to the praise of Manjhi by saying that he would be welcome provided he makes up his mind to first leave the Mahagathbandhan.
Manjhi has been issuing one deadline after another which never caused any flutter and ultimately he is left licking his own wounds. As his first deadline for setting up a coordination committe expired with the RJD not even blinking, Manjhi had to make a frantic rush to Delhi to seek the help of the Congress.
With veiled assurances coming from the Congress, Manjhi had no choice but to issue a second deadline. The second deadline also expired on 3 July. Obviously, the muscle flexing tactics of Manjhi did not work.
Manjhi knows it well that the RJD is not even bothered and that his party is being considered too small a fry to be attached any importance. Another smaller party within Mahagthabandhan VIP and the RLSP, too, have been raising the demand for a coordination committee.
The Congress, however, wants to tread very carefully with no intent to alienate any party within the Mahagathbandhan. Talking to The Sunday Guardian, Congress in-charge for state affairs Shaktisinh Gohil said, “Even prior to the Lok Sabha, it was widely being speculated that the Mahagathbandhan would not remain intact, but we proved those people wrong. Mahagathbandhan is very much intact and there is ideological commitment among us. As time comes, we will be able to deal with the small hiccups.”
On the question of the long-pending demand for a coordination committee, he indicated that during the preliminary meeting which was also attended by RJD leader Manoj jha, he had endorsed the views of having a coordination committee and said that it would be formed after consultations with Laluji. The coordination committee, however, is yet to be formed, leaving parties like RLSP, VIP and HAM sulking.
Another major bone of contention is the leadership issue within the Mahagathbandhan. The Sunday Guardian repeatedly asked this question to Shakti Sinh Gohil to evoke a direct answer. However, Gohil tried to skirt the issue by saying that there is ideological commitment among the various parties of Mahagathbandhan; however, the NDA is not intact and that Ram Vilash Paswan has been left fuming.
On being asked again if the leadership of Tejashwi Yadav would be acceptable to the Congress, he said, “This is not the issue. All the issues will be decided at an appropriate time and there is absolutely no difference within the Mahagathbandhan.”
It is apparent that even the Congress is having reservations on the leadership of Tejashwi Yadav and in the times to come, possibly the problem is bound to manifest itself in more magnified magnitude.
The JDU considers Mahagtahbandhan to be a futile exercise. Talking to The Sunday Guardian, JDU leader Dr Ajay Alok said, “Mahagathbandhan is a futile exercise in absence of Lalu Prasad Yadav. His vaccum is yet to be fulfilled. Vansh se Gaddi aati hai buddhi nahi,”—an obvious connotation to Tejashwi Yadav.
Even as the NDA is all set to put its best foot forward and has already sounded the poll bugle, the Mahagathbandhan is still engrossed in the herculean task of properly cobbling up its alliance. That gives the NDA a clear advantage and possibly a cake walk.
Another glaring problem within the RJD that may turn out to be a dampener for the entire Mahagathbandhan is the family trouble of Lalu Prasad Yadav.