Lalu will try ‘realpolitik’ in case of a favourable outcome.

 

Out of all the Assembly by-elections whose results will come on 2 November, the bypolls on two Assembly seats in Bihar, namely Kusheshwarsthan (Darbhanga) and Tarapur (Munger), have the potential to alter the political arithmetic of the state and may lead to new kind of political realignment in Bihar with the RJD trying to destabilize the Nitish Kumar-led government. Currently, the ruling National Democratic Alliance (NDA) led by Nitish Kumar has the support of 126 members of Legislative Assembly (MLAs) in the House of 243.

The bypolls were necessitated by the deaths of  Mewalal Choudhary (Tarapur) and  Shashi Bhushan Hazari (Kusheshwarsthan) both from the Nitish Kumar-led JDU. Many believe that if the results came out in the favour of the Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD), then in coming days, there would be a question mark on the longevity of the state government and the NDA alliance itself. The recent feud between the Indian National Congress and the RJD may also lead to a new kind of political realignment in the state as Nitish Kumar had done alliance with all the parties of Bihar in the past.

Noted political analyst and writer Santosh Kumar Singh, said: “The message from the ground is not very convincing for Nitish Kumar as the RJD had done a new kind of experiment in the Tarapur and Kusheshwarsthan Assembly seats, which had made it a tough contest. Interestingly, the Congress is fighting both the seats with a lot of energy and the votes of Congress will harm the prospects of the NDA in Tarapur. RJD had given a ticket to a Baniya candidate in Tarapur who are considered the core voters of the BJP, hoping to split the core vote of the NDA, while retaining its own M-Y combination. Hence, if the result does not come in favour of the NDA, then the realpolitik will start in the state with Lalu Yadav trying hard to break the ruling parties MLAs. The NDA government in Bihar is surviving on the four MLAs each of EBC leader Mukesh Sahani’s Vikasshil Insaan Party (VIP) and former CM Jitan Ram Manjhi’s Hindustani Awam Morcha (Secular).

Both HAM(S) and VIP are often seen as political parties with shifting allegiances, and the RJD could try to manage both these parties to destabilise the government. The RJD is the largest party in the Bihar legislative Assembly with 75 members.

A senior leader of the National Democratic Alliance who wished to remain unnamed said: “If the Banaiya community does not vote for the JDU candidate in Tarapur, then cracks may emerge between the BJP-JDU. Nitish Kumar had on many occasions supported Kanhaiya Kumar and the Congress is not untouchable for him. Therefore, 2 November is very crucial for the state.”

Many other political observers argue that it will not be easy to destabilize the government as many MLAs of the Congress can switch sides at any moment. Patna-based senior political analyst Rana Tej Pratap said: “The alliance between the RJD and the INC is no more. So, even if the RJD wins both the seats in the bypolls, where are the numbers? People from the INC may switch sides. Until the JDU and the BJP is united, it is not possible to destabilize the government. But, yes one assumption is right that any adverse bypolls result can pressurize the ruling dispensation in Patna.”