Ahead of Bihar polls, Mahagathbandhan may dump 3 allies

Ahead of Bihar polls, Mahagathbandhan may dump three of its allies

Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) leader Tejashwi Yadav. Credit: PTI Photo

With barely four months left for the Assembly polls in Bihar, the first state to have elections post-COVID-19, battle-lines are being drawn on both sides of the fence.

But more than the NDA, it’s the Grand Alliance, also called Mahagathbandhan, which is desperate to shore up its strength in the wake of stupendous performance by NDA during the 2019 parliamentary elections.

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Completely decimated by the NDA (comprising the BJP, JD-U and the LJP), which won 39 out of 40 Lok Sabha seats in the state after securing 53.25 percent votes, the Mahagathbandhan in Bihar is now seriously contemplating to dump three of its alliance partners who have become “more a liability than an asset.”

At least three authoritative sources, two in Bihar and one in New Delhi, confirmed it to DH that three allies of Mahagathbandhan may get the boot in the next few weeks. And in the line of fire is Jitan Ram Manjhi-headed Hindustan Awam Morcha (HAM), former Union Minister Upendra Kushwaha’s Rashtriya Lok Samata Party (RLSP) and the little-known Vikas-sheel Insaan Party (VIP) headed by Mukesh Sahni, the self-proclaimed ‘son of Mallah’ (Nishads/boatmen).

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“The Lok Sabha results show that three Grand Alliance partners (the self-proclaimed leaders of Mahadalits, Kushwahas and Nishads, respectively) neither could secure votes from their core constituency nor could transfer it to the RJD and the Congress. Having failed to learn from their past performance, they are still hell-bent on extracting their pound of flesh. Against this backdrop, they have become more a liability than an asset,” a former Bihar Congress president explained it to DH, dwelling at length why Mahagathbandhan needs overhauling.

The RJD too is not averse to dump the three alliance partners. “Talks are underway at the highest level in the party whether Manjhi, Kushwaha and Sahni should be shown the door. After all, they have been also holding secret parleys with those on the other side of the fence. Manjhi’s statements against our leader Tejashwi Yadav may also seal his fate,” said a senior RJD functionary, refusing to be identified as the new possible formation (comprising RJD and Congress) is still in an embryonic stage.

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Congress sources in New Delhi confirmed that the party’s top leadership was also not keen on having Manjhi, Kushwaha and Sahni in the Grand Alliance given their “miserable track record.”

The three Mahagathbandhan allies, aware of the developments, have now started holding parleys for a Third Front which may have CPI’s Kanhaiya Kumar and former RJD MP Pappu Yadav on board.

“Manjhi had an unsuccessful meeting with a top BJP functionary. After the talks failed due to Manjhi’s over-ambitious and unreasonable demand (for seats), these leaders are now negotiating with Pappu Yadav and other Left parties for a Third Front,” a Grand Alliance leader, close to Lalu as well as Sonia Gandhi said.