RJD, Congress Could Be On The Warpath Or Attempting to Hoodwink Nitish Kumar Ahead of Bypolls

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Ahead of the by-polls for two assembly seats in Bihar, the Rashtriya Janata Dal and Bihar Congress seem to have headed for a split. Everything is not going right for the ‘Mahagathbandhan’ (grand alliance) as both the parties have declared their candidates for Tarapur and Kusheshwarsthan by-election separately.

During the 2020 assembly elections, RJD had contested the Tarapur seat while Congress had contested the Kusheshwarsthan seat, as part of the coalition. However, both the seats were won by the JD(U).

RJD was the first to declare its candidates for both the seats without taking into confidence the state Congress, annoying the state leadership no end.

This move of RJD made the Congress go solo as it was left with no alternative but to enter the by-poll with all the ammunition it had at its disposal.

Kanhaiya Kumar may prove to be eyesore for RJD

Die was already cast with Kanhaiya Kumar joining the Congress and it was hotly debated in political circles if Kanhiaya Kumar and Tejashwi will ever share the political dais?

The political circle in Patna is agog with the speculation that how RJD is trying to undermine young leaders like Kanhiaya Kumar and for that matter Chirag Paswan.

During the Patna flood and Covid-19 pandemic, Pappu Yadav did a lot of social services but was never appreciated by RJD leadership.

No doubt, Tejashwi Yadav has been the principal opposition leader after RJD and JD(U) split in 2015 and he has been getting all the attention.

Tejashwi proved his mettle in the last election in 2020, even though his father Lalu Yadav was not around. The RJD won 75 seats while the Congress won 19 seats, though the coalition fell short of making the government.

In 2020, the Congress was allocated 70 seats out of a total of 243 seats, while it could win only 19 seats. Sources in the RJD has been saying that had Congress been given fewer seats, there was a fairly good chance of RJD getting close to the halfway mark and making the government with the support of left parties and Congress.

Seeds of suspicion sown during 2019 Begusarai LS polls

Kanhaiya Kumar has had a bad start after he lost terribly in Begusarai Lok Sabha election in 2019 against tall BJP leader Giriraj Singh. It’s a different issue that both Giriraj Singh and Kanhaiya belonged to the same Bhumihar caste.

RJD had tactically fielded a strong Muslim candidate Tanvir Hussain to cut into the minority vote, which could have otherwise gone in Kanhaiya’s favour.

Both the RJD and CPI vigorously pursued the Muslim vote, in which Kanhaiya managed to garner 2.69 votes while Tanvir Hussain secured 1.98 lakh votes in the triangular contest BJP stalwart secured 6.88 lakh votes.

On the day, when Congress decided to contest by-elections independently, the Bihar Congress in charge Bhakta Charan Das declared that Congress will contest 40 Lok Sabha seats in future, independent of Rashtriya Janata Dal.

Whether the decision of contesting elections against each other will impact their future relations or the final call will be taken by RJD supremo Lalu Prasad Yadav and Congress president Sonia Gandhi is yet to become clear.

Political Parties catering to subaltern classes have been slowly deserting RJD, which began with Upendra Kushwaha joining JD(U) followed by VIP leader Mukesh Sahani and Hindustani Awam Morcha leader Jitan Ram Manjhi.

It’s pertinent to mention that Jitan Ram Manjhi represents the Manjhi community, while Sahani is perceived to be an influential leader of the Mallah community.

After the breakup, what will happen?

The setback to the alliance may be temporary, if the RJD wins the Tarapur seat, RJD would be able to prove that their decision of going alone on both seats was right.

This could also impact the future of Mahagathbandhan as RJD would be able to dictate terms in future in a forceful manner.

Congress may suddenly feel spring in their feet with the infusion of new blood in the party but their worth would be tested during forthcoming polls.

When Chief Minister Nitish Kumar was asked about the outcome of this breakup, he brushed aside the question by saying he is neither happy nor bothered about the impact of the breakup within ‘Mahagathbandhan’. Only time will tell how much Congress and RJD will gain by sailing in two different boats.

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