The Bihar election season is upon us and every single day is an event in itself as political equations keep changing with years-old alliances breaking and unlikely coalitions forming in a heartbeat. Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) and its leader Tejashwi Yadav is fighting the assembly elections without the blessing of his tainted yet politically shrewd father Lalu Prasad Yadav, however, seeing the election wave is not going his way, the RJD leader is now looking to forge alliances in an uncharted territory.
Tejashwi Yadav on Monday, out of the blue, expressed his sympathy for LJP leader Chirag Paswan and said chief minister Nitish Kumar had been unfair to the young politician ahead of the upcoming state polls.
“What Nitish Kumar Ji did with Chirag Paswan is not good. Chirag needs his father today more than ever before but Ram Vilas Paswan Ji is not among us and we are sad about it. Nitish Kumar did injustice with Chirag Paswan, his behaviour is unfair,” said Tejashwi Yadav.
What Nitish Kumar Ji did with Chirag Paswan is not good. Chirag Paswan needs his father at this time more than ever before but Ram Vilas Paswan ji is not among us and we are sad about it. Nitish Kumar did injustice to Chirag Paswan: RJD leader Tejashwi Yadav#BiharElections2020 pic.twitter.com/ojJuY8gd3b
— ANI (@ANI) October 19, 2020
The sudden sympathy for Chirag Paswan from Yadav came merely a day after he had called LJP as BJP’s B-Team. “They are vote katwas (vote splitters),” he had said in an election rally on Sunday urging voters to beware of the BJP’s B-team
Can form the government with Chirag: Tejashwi Yadav
Moreover, according to a Dainik Bhaskar report, Tejashwi has not hesitated to claim that he might seek a post-poll alliance with LJP if the need is there to form a government in the state.
“Sarkar banana ke lie zarurat padi to Chirag Paswan ka bhi saath le sakte hai” (If there is a prospect of forming the government, we can seek the support of Chirag Paswan) said Tejashwi Yadav during an electorate rally in Jamui.
Politics, especially Indian politics is a tricky affair—there are no permanent enemies nor permanent allies. After Amit Shah in a television interview said that it was Chirag Paswan who broke the alliance with the NDA ahead of the Bihar polls, Tejashwi Yadav thought of it as an opportunity to lure a vulnerable LJP and Chirag Paswan to his side and consequently, Tejashwi is throwing his hat in the ring, in case LJP emerges as the party with considerable vote share and seats.
RJD is counting on the mutual animosity of Chirag and Tejashwi for Nitish Kumar as the middle ground for an unlikely alliance. Reported by TFI previously, Chirag had iterated how he and his father were humiliated by Nitish Kumar and how the latter’s heightened toxic ego led to the ejection of LJP from the alliance.
LJP unlikely to side with RJD
Though it is highly unlikely that LJP will side with RJD, given Chirag Paswan’s recent statements where the President of LJP had compared Prime Minister Narendra Modi to Bhagwan Ram and himself as his devoted Hanuman bhakt.
“I don’t need photos of PM Modi. He is in my heart. Much like Hanuman’s devotion for Ram, if you cut open my heart you will find only Modi-ji,” Chirag Paswan had said.
His statements have indeed brought a lot of traction to LJP which is looking to oust Nitish Kumar for good in the state. Chirag Paswan has become extremely popular in the state in the last few years, especially after the Coronavirus lockdown when he directly took on Nitish Kumar on the migrants’ issue and gave popular slogans such as “Bihar first, Bihari first”. The unfortunate death of his father ‘Ram Vilas Paswan’ is expected to land him some precious sympathy votes too.
It should be safe to assume that Chirag is the hot property in the market currently and even an opponent like RJD cannot let go of an opportunity to lure him in its corner.
A backdoor deal between BJP and LJP?
While BJP is criticizing LJP for severing ties with the NDA alliance in the state but so far the criticism has been meek and it looks like some backdoor strategy has been formulated by the two parties to keep up with the optics.
The LJP leader has made his intentions crystal clear that he is no longer content to play the second fiddle in the state. Chirag has openly stated his unswerving loyalty to the BJP and in the forthcoming Assembly polls, his party will not contest seats where BJP will be contesting, however, it will fight against JDU.
Chirag is planning to cut into the JD(U) votes in the 143 seats that his party is contesting and potentially emerge as a kingmaker, in case the NDA falls short of a majority. If BJP can win 80-90 seats out of 121 it is contesting, and LJP wins 25-35 seats out of 143 it has decided to contest, they can form the government on their own without any support from Nitish Kumar’s party.
Even if the alliance needs a few MLAs to form the government, the leaders in JD(U) camp would be more than willing to support a BJP CM as many of them themselves do not like Nitish Kumar who is stuck with CM chair for the last one and a half decades and is not giving chance to young leaders to come forward in the hierarchy.
RJD, Congress, and the Left parties in the Mahagathbandhan are sensing an impending defeat in the elections slated to begin from October 28 and therefore the leader of the alliance, Tejashwi Yadav is looking for new pastures to save his and the coalitions’ face.