BJP adopting 'Jharkhand strategy' in Bihar

Saffron party trying to stop Janata Parivar alliance: JD(U)

BJP adopting 'Jharkhand strategy' in Bihar

It looks like the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) is working discreetly to repeat its Jharkhand experiment in Bihar.

Last year, when the Assembly polls were announced in the neighbouring state, the JMM-Congress alliance were ruling Jharkhand. However, the tie-up could not fructify for the Assembly polls and they contested separately. As a consequence, a divided secular vote helped BJP scrape through in the tribal-dominated state which, till December 2014, had never given a decisive mandate.

Sources in JD(U) now allege that the BJP is adopting the same strategy and will ensure that Lalu Prasad and Nitish Kumar do not enter into an alliance for the 2015 state Assembly elections.

“Or else, how could you explain the recent developments within Janata Parivar where neither merger nor seat adjustments could take place even though Lalu and Nitish had vowed to work together to stop BJP’s march in Bihar?” said a senior JD (U) functionary.

“The way Lalu has recently put hurdles in merger plans and has, of late, questioned Nitish’s leadership provides the clearest evidence that he and his core team are working at the behest of someone within the BJP,” said the source, adding that everyone knows that if Lalu and Nitish contest separately, it will be a cakewalk for the BJP.

To buttress his point, the source gave Deccan Herald the statistics of Lok Sabha elections. “While the RJD got 20.4 per cent votes, the JD (U) fetched 16 per cent votes. The Congress, which was in alliance with the RJD, managed to get 8.56 per cent votes. If the three parties come together, it would add up to 44 per cent votes, more than the combined BJP alliance (BJP+LJP+RLSP, the three constituents in Bihar), which secured 36.48 per cent votes and won 31 out of 40 Lok Sabha seats,” he said.

The ruling party member now apprehends that Lalu is perhaps in tacit understanding with the saffron camp hoping to get some relief in court cases, much like Jayalalitha.

“The way RJD vice-president and former Union minister Raghuvansh Prasad Singh has been targeting Nitish and opposing his projection as the chief ministerial candidate shows he is on the BJP’s payroll,” lamented minister in Nitish’s Cabinet Shyam Rajak.

Aware of the RJD gameplan, Nitish on Wednesday held separate meetings with different district units of the party here and tried to assess the quantum of damage it would be inflicted with, if the JD (U) deserts RJD and goes to poll in the company of Congress and the Left.

Notably, the Congress has pledged its support to Nitish and backed his candidature as the chief minister for the Assembly polls. “But the way things are unfolding here of late, particularly the re-emergence of Manjhi (who could do damage through his Mahadalit votes) and Pappu Yadav (who could wean away Yadavs in Kosi-Seemanchal belt) floating his party, some ‘invisible hand’ is working overtime to ensure that secular votes remain divided in Bihar as it had happened in Jharkhand Assembly polls last year,” a top Congress leader said on Wednesday.

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