Lalu in trouble as equations change

Lalu in trouble as equations change

Barely a fortnight after winning the Maharajganj Lok Sabha by-poll with a comfortable margin, Lalu Prasad Yadav was under the impression that the tide was gradually changing in favour of the Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD). But his happiness was short-lived as he suffered triple blows in the last couple of days.

First, the RJD, which has 22 MLAs, had to forgo the post of the leader of the Opposition. The BJP, with 91 MLAs, is now the principal Opposition party and former NDA convenor in Bihar Nand Kishore Yadav became the leader of the Opposition.

Adding insult to injury, the Congress entered into a tacit understanding with his bitter foe Nitish Kumar prior to the confidence motion. The Congress extended support to Nitish, who till then had a wafer-thin majority through independents.  The Congress has sent a clear message to the JD-U strongman that it wants to do serious and long-term business with him, as the party feels it is always prudent to deal with a sensible Nitish than a mercurial Mamata or tough nuts like Mulayam or Mayawati.

Congress sources said that the JD-U with 20 MPs in the Lok Sabha might help the UPA government pass the ambitious Food Security Bill, and its two members in the JPC probing the 2G scam may also help the panel give a clean chit to the prime minister and the finance minister.

“It’s true that Laluji is let down by the Congress. And it’s equally true that if the Congress eventually join hands with the JD-U or even have a tacit understanding prior to the Lok Sabha polls, large chunk of Muslims may dump us and vote in favour of those who will be more competent in defeating Narendra Modi’s nominee,” said a trusted associate of Lalu.

Though Nitish says it’s premature to talk of any tie-up, he has left some room for further negotiation by saying, “No one knows what will happen in the future.” “Chances of our tie-up with Lalu are very bleak. Either we go it alone or join hands with the JD-U. Another possibility is seat adjustment with the JD-U,” Bihar Congress spokesperson Prem Chandra Mishra told Deccan Herald  here on Friday.  A panel headed by Union Defence Minister A K Antony will take a final call on alliances in Bihar, he added.

The Congress is at present working on roping in LJP chief Ram Vilas Paswan and bring him under the new possible broad alliance–JD(U)-Congress-Communists-LJP.

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