Letter has been sent to Congress high command to end all ties with RJD.
New Delhi: The relation between the Congress and the Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) in Bihar has been going downhill, and most of the Congress leaders in the state are unhappy with the Congress high command’s continued relationship with the RJD.
According to a Congress leader, the high command has the ultimate say over how the Congress’ state unit functions, and this is preventing the Congress in the state from giving up its association with the RJD.
According to sources privy to developments in the Congress, a letter has been sent to the Congress high command to officially end all ties and not have any further alliance with parties like RJD. There has been a lot of confusion over the Congress’ alliance with the RJD, but the high command has sustained its ties with the party. However, the Congress leadership in the state believes that the alliance with the RJD is over. The Congress is preparing to go solo.
A rift had erupted between both cadres of both the parties after the RJD unilaterally fielded a candidate in Kusheshwar which was to be fought by Congress’ Ashok Kumar in a seat-sharing alliance with RJD. A senior Congress functionary close to Ashok Kumar said: “At the time of recent by-elections, we were sure that Ashok Kumar would be leading by 10,000 votes, but the RJD surprisingly fielded a candidate. I don’t know why, we were ditched. We couldn’t have withdrawn, we were a national party.”
Ashok Kumar, working president of Congress, said, “Under no circumstance should Congress tie up with the RJD.” Kumar added that the Congress is trying to expand its foothold in Bihar. “We should expand our organization up to the booth level, but we don’t even have a proper president; what to speak of district president and block president. First, we have to decide the Bihar Pradesh Congress committee president. When you don’t have a body, how will you run the organization?”
The party is looking closely at the next parliamentary elections to refurbish its national ambitions. In the past, it could only win one parliamentary seat out of 40 in Bihar, leaving all the remaining 39 seats for the NDA alliance, enabling them to have a commanding share in the Lok Sabha. A senior Congress functionary said: “The state cadre wanted to go it alone in Bihar from the last two decades and most of us didn’t want an alliance with the RJD. It is the RJD that has eroded our traditional vote bank—upper caste Dalits and Muslims. The RJD dented our Muslim votes and the Dalits drifted away. The Yadavs have a bad equation with the Dalits in Bihar; since we were with the RJD, the Dalits drifted away.”
Kuntal Krishna, Congress state spokesperson of Bihar, told The Sunday Guardian that Congress is the only political alternative in Bihar and “If the Congress has its own government in Bihar, we can do wonders for the state.” Congress has been faltering in vote share since 1985 when it had a vote share of 40% in Bihar. The recent legislative elections saw below 10% vote share attained by the Congress. And in the recent by-elections, the Congress could muster only 3% of vote share, losing deposits on both seats. Sources in the Congress affirmed that now, the Congress will have a same policy in Bihar as it has in UP—to go it alone in elections. The Congress state unit believes that they have nothing to lose in Bihar, and there is a lot to gain, only if the Congress deals with the situation alone.
According to Pawan Kumar, a political analyst, the Congress is actively attracting people on social media, but on the ground, they are not holding any rallies. “Every time, they have tried to correct their arithmetic, they tried to appease the OBC when the RJD itself is a cadre-based party of OBC. RJD is permanent in south Bihar and Congress needs RJD to be there,” he said.