Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) leader, Lalu Prasad Yadav seems to have initiated moves to form an alternative political platform with Mayawati’s Bahujan Samaj Party and former Bihar chief minister, Jitan Ram Manjhi’s Hindustan Awam Morcha (HAM) amid doubts over the continuance of Bihar’s grand alliance government.
Sources told Hindustan Times that Prasad’s move at rearranging Bihar’s caste-based political calculus is pointed at pushing his alliance partner, Janata Dal (United) leader Nitish Kumar on the back foot. Notably, after recent CBI and IT raids against Prasad and his family, there are speculations that Kumar may end ties with RJD.
Besides, Kumar’s timely backing to NDA’s Ram Nath Kovind as Presidential candidate also ignited rumours of his probable shift with BJP.
Thus, with possibilities of snap mid-term polls, Prasad is trying to strengthen his position over past few weeks. His son and state’s deputy chief minister, Tejaswi Yadav met BSP chief Mayawati last Friday. Tejaswi, who is already under pressure from JD(U) to resign over corruption charges, talked about the possibilities of firming up an alternative secular coalition in Bihar and elsewhere.
Sources told HT that Lalu Prasad, who lately offered support to elect Mayawati to the Rajya Sabha from Bihar after her resignation from Rajya Sabha, has also contacted Manjhi. RJD camp thinks that a coalition with BSP and HAM could demolish the Extremely Backward Caste (EBC) vote bank that Kumar has been enjoying and has built over the years.
Though BSP remained a marginal player in Bihar, RJD leaders thinks a tie-up between the two could enable Mayawati to tap into the state’s scheduled caste vote bank. They are estimated to be around 14 per cent of the electorate.