Lalu-Nitish spat clouds Janata Parivar reunion

Last Updated 15 May 2015, 19:32 IST

Within days after it became clear that the merger of the Janata Parivar is headed for an uncertain future, the two regional satraps Nitish Kumar and Lalu Prasad are at draggers drawn again.

While Lalu on Thursday found three faults with the Chief Minister of Bihar — stopping reservation to Dalit employees, inadequate compensation to earthquake victims and squall-hit farmers, and inept handling of contract staff strike, it was Nitish’s turn on Friday to hit back at the RJD leader.

The JD(U) strongman mocked at the RJD for “trying to arm-twist” the ruling party in the name of seat adjustment.

“The RJD can stake claim on the entire 243 constituencies in Bihar,” Nitish said, reacting to former Union minister and senior RJD leader Raghuvansh Prasad Singh’s demand that Lalu’s party should contest at least 145 out of 243 seats, leaving the rest of the constituencies for the JD(U), the Congress, the NCP and the CPI.

This is the first time since they buried their two-decades-old differences last year to fight a common foe (the BJP) that the internal squabbling within the off shoots of Janata Parivar — the JD (U) and the RJD — came out in open.

Since July last year, when Nitish and Lalu joined hands to take BJP head-on, they avoided deriding each other in public.

However, soon after Samajwadi Party MP Ram Gopal Yadav indicated a few days back that the “merger of six off-shoots of Janata Parivar was being deferred till Bihar Assembly elections due to technical problems”, the disunity among the Janata leaders has come to the fore again.

This wrangling could be music to the ears of the BJP leaders who were apparently worried over the proposed merger.

“Tell me honestly, has this ‘technical problem’ within Janata Parivar suddenly cropped up or it existed earlier too. The alibi of technical ground is merely an eye wash,” said senior BJP leader and former Deputy Chief Minister Sushil Kumar Modi.

The BJP, which badly needs a victory in Bihar polls, slated for October-November this year, is more than happy to find uncertainty over the Janata merger.

(Published 15 May 2015, 19:32 IST)

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