As you read this article, the obituary of Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD), the party of Lalu Yadav, is being written in Bihar. Out of the 8 Members of Legislative Council the party has in Bihar, 5 have left to join JD(U). The five MLCs — Radhacharan Seth, Sanjay Prasad, Ranvijay Singh, Kamare Alam and Dilip Rai- have left the party ahead of the legislative council elections, which is scheduled to be held on July 6.
As 5 have left the party to join JD(U), now RJD has only 3 members in 75 seats strong Bihar Legislative Council. Rabri Devi, the leader of opposition in the Legislative Council, is set to lose her chair as her party now has less than required (10 percent of total, or 8) members in the house.
“The RJD is virtually dead. There has been no activity and no hope. Nitish Kumar continues to drive Bihar on the path of development,” Sanjay Prasad, one of the MLCs who left the party to join JD (U), said.
Whether Nitish Kumar is driving Bihar on the path of development can be contested, but the statement about RJD being virtually dead is 100 percent true.
The party suffered another blow on the same day (yesterday) as party vice president and former Union Cabinet Minister for Rural Development, Raghuvansh Prasad Singh, also resigned. Singh was not happy with RJD welcoming Rama Kishore Singh, who had defeated him from Vaishali, a seat he held since 1996, in 2014 as NDA candidate.
“It’s like hell in the party — tickets are being sold for money. I personally blocked Rama Singh’s entry into the party twice. But after this, I cannot hold this post,” Raghuvansh Prasad Singh said.
The resignation of Raghuvansh Prasad Singh means loss of party’s upper caste face. The Muslim voters have already deserted Lalu’s party for JD(U) and lower caste vote is divided between Ram Vilas Paswan, Jitan Ram Manjhi, and many other players. The only voter that stands behind Lalu’s party is Yadav vote base.
With Lalu Yadav in jail, his sons have not been able to able to put the party together. In the last few years, many senior leaders have either joined opposition camps or opted out of active politics altogether.
The financial support base for Lalu’s party is also shrinking. Out of the five MLCs who left the party yesterday, Kamre Alam, a Delhi-based businessman, and Radhacharan Seth, who is in the construction business, provided the financial help. Now Lalu and his party is devoid of money power as well as muscle power, and therefore, it is very unlikely that the party would manage to win even a few seats in 2020 assembly election.
“The desertion will not have any effect on assembly polls. Legislators come and go before assembly polls. But these MLCs have been taken away on the strength of money and power. It is for all parties to worry,” remarked state RJD chief Jagdanand Singh.
While Chirag Paswan has emerged as one of the better dynasts in Bihar politics, Lalu’s sons- Tej Pratap and Tejashwi- gave completely failed to manage the party (read family firm). “The state of the RJD is like a deserted and abandoned house where someone takes the fan, someone takes out door, and someone else takes the window. The party is leaderless,” said Sadhu Yadav, Lalu’s estranged brother-in-law and Tejashwi’s uncle, a former RJD MP.
Many party MLAs have said that they have no access to Tejashwi Yadav, party’s current leader. According to Bihar’s political analysts, at least 15 more MLAs of the party would jump the boat before the November election.
“Out of the 80 MLAs, more than 60 have no access to Tejashwi. Whenever he calls a meeting of legislators, many fail to attend it. He has made changes in party structure, leading to more dissent from those who were dropped. There is a sinking feeling within the party,” said a MLA.
With Lalu in jail and Lalu’s sons proving as ineffective as Rahul Gandhi, it basically marks the end of RJD.