Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) chief Lalu Prasad’s elder son Tej Pratap recently resigned as chief of the party’s student wing after he sought tickets for candidates of his choice from Jehanabad and Sheohar Lok Sabha constituency. It seems that the proposed silence of Tej Pratap since the announcement of the general election was a ticking time bomb which may cost dearly for the RJD and moreover to the grand alliance of the opposition parties.
“I am resigning as chief of Chhatra RJD. Naadan hain woh log mujhe naadan samajhte hain (Those who think I am naive are mistaken),” tweeted Tej Pratap. The former Health Minister of Bihar went on to add that he urged his father and brother to give tickets to new faces in the upcoming election.
Bihar: Tej Pratap Yadav tweets that he has resigned as Chief of RJD's Student Wing pic.twitter.com/rNN6mvrf0p
— ANI (@ANI) March 28, 2019
Moreover, Tej Pratap was scheduled to hold a press conference, but at the eleventh hour, he did not attend it. Tej Pratap was reportedly asked by RJD leaders not to attend the press conference. Tej Pratap wishes to field Angesh Singh from Sheohar and Chandra Prakash from Jehanabad. However, RJD sources claimed that the party is likely to field Surendra Yadav from Jehanabad.
In the mean while, after a lot of tussle the grand alliance finally reached agreement regarding seat sharing. The RJD will contest 20 seats and the Congress 9, while smaller parties, like Upendra Kushawaha’s Rashtriya Lok Samata Party and others, have been given the remaining seats. Earlier, Congress in its unrealistic ambition has been demanding 16 seats out of the total 40 seats in Bihar, while RJD was unwilling to give more than 10-12 seats. The RJD wanted to keep 20-22 seats for itself and allot the rest to its allies. The left had also been demanding at least 10 seats.
Bihar is the third most populous state of India with 40 Lok Sabha seats, believed to be very active politically over the years. With the announcement of the Mahagathbandhan in Bihar for 2019 general election, the platform is set for a bipolar contest, NDA vs Mahagathbandhan. In 2014, the state witnessed a three-corner fight, NDA (BJP, LJP and RLSP) vs JD (U) & CPI vs UPA (RJD, INC and NCP). NDA won 31 seats and UPA got 7 seats, whereas Nitish Kumar’s JD (U) had to settle with 2 seats only. However, this time, dynamics have changed a lot. JD (U) joined NDA, whereas Upendra Kushwaha’s RLSP switched side to ally with the Mahagathbandhan. Jitan Ram Manjhi’s HAM party and Mukesh Sahni’s VIP party are new entrants in the electoral fray. All the major parties are contesting under fewer than two grand umbrellas.
Having a clear leader in Prime Minister Modi, the NDA has a definitive edge over the grand alliance in Bihar. RJD and the Congress are both in shambles with a weak leadership and dwindling fortunes. Additionally this infighting in RJD will further lower their chances. Leave alone the question of seat sharing; the grand alliance does not even have a clear prime ministerial candidate. The NDA already boasts of an impressive social engineering as far as the state of Bihar is concerned.