RJD, the party which ruled Bihar uninterruptedly for 15 years and remained the primary opposition party, seems to be progressing towards irrelevance and oblivion as the state goes for the 2020 assembly election. Lalu Yadav, the charismatic leader who manifested BJP’s first loss in the 2015 Bihar election after the 2014 general election win and successive state victories, is in jail and his sons are as ineffective as Rahul Gandhi.
The second rung of RJD’s leadership–people like Raghuvansh Prasad Singh, Dilip Rai–have either left the party or became inactive after Lalu Yadav’s sons–Tejashwi and Tej Pratap–took to the management. A few months ago in June, out of the 8 Members of Legislative Council the party had in Bihar, 5 left to join JD(U). The five MLCs — Radhacharan Seth, Sanjay Prasad, Ranvijay Singh, Kamare Alam and Dilip Rai- left the party ahead of the elections.
“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 per cent true.
The resignation and the death of Raghuvansh Prasad Singh mean loss of the party’s upper caste face. The Muslim voters have already deserted Lalu Yadav’s party for JD(U) and the lower caste vote is divided between Ram Vilas Paswan, Jitan Ram Manjhi, and many other players. The only voter that stands behind RJD is the Lalu Yadav vote base.
With Lalu Yadav in jail, his sons have not been able to put the party together. In the last few years, many senior leaders have either joined the opposition camps or opted out of active politics altogether.
The financial support base for Lalu Yadav’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 Yadav and his party are 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 the 2020 assembly election.
While Chirag Paswan has emerged as one of the better dynasts in Bihar politics, Lalu Yadav’s sons- Tej Pratap and Tejashwi- have 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 outdoor, and someone else takes the window. The party is leaderless,” said Sadhu Yadav, Lalu Yadav’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, the party’s current leader. With Lalu Yadav in jail and Lalu’s sons proving as ineffective as Rahul Gandhi, it basically marks the end of RJD. It is very unlikely that the party will win even 10 per cent seats (required to win the seat of Leader of opposition) in the 243 members’ strong Bihar legislative assembly. The party which ruled the state with an iron fist for 15 years (and destroyed its legacy) will no longer be a significant player after the next assembly election