- Lalu Yadav led Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD), and Congress has been allies for the last few decades.
- In the last assembly election, the alliance with the Congress party cost heavily to Mahagathbandhan.
- The loss of Mahagathbandhan in the 2020 assembly election turned the alliance between the two parties sour.
Lalu Yadav led Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD), and Congress has been allies for the last few decades. However, in the last assembly election, the alliance with the Congress party cost heavily to the Mahagathbandhan, as the Grand Old Party could win only 19 seats out of 70, and its candidates forfeited deposit of many.
The loss of Mahagathbandhan in the 2020 assembly election turned the alliance between the two parties sour, and recently the two parted ways after a rift over the candidate for by-polls.
The Kusheshwar Asthan and Tarapur seats are scheduled to go to the by-polls on October 30. The seats fell vacant after the death of the sitting MLAs — both from the JD(U).
The RJD and the Congress had fought the 2020 Bihar polls as part of an alliance, and as part of the seat-sharing agreement, the Congress had contested from Kusheshwar Asthan — a seat it lost by 7,200 votes.
For the by-polls, RJD refused to give the Kusheshwar Asthan seat to Congress. The Grand Old Party said the seat is its bastion and it will contest on its own if RJD is not willing to concede.
On Sunday, Lalu told reporters, “Why should we give the seat to Congress? So that they would lose? So they would lose their deposit?” The RJD chief was responding to a question on a statement by Congress Bihar in-charge Bhakta Charan Das, who had earlier said that the alliance between the two parties would have remained intact had the RJD spared one seat for the Congress.
Earlier in the week, RJD’s Manoj Jha had said that Das was “lecturing from his drawing-room”, drawing a sharp response from newly-inducted Congress leader Kanhaiya Kumar on Friday.
“Had people like him (Das) not been in the party, Jignesh (Mevani) and I could not have gathered the courage to join Congress. Do ask your masters in the drawing room who Bhakta Charan Das is,” Kanhaiya had said.
After the loss in the 2020 assembly election, RJD leaders went all out against the Congress party and Rahul Gandhi. Speaking about the Congress, RJD leader Shivanand Tiwari said, “Congress became a shackle for Mahagathbandhan. They had fielded 70 candidates but didn’t hold even 70 public rallies. Rahul Gandhi came for three days, Priyanka didn’t come, those who were unfamiliar with Bihar came here. This is not right.” He added, “I think this is not the case only in Bihar. In other states too Congress lays more emphasis on contesting on the maximum possible number of seats but they fail at winning the maximum possible number of seats. Congress should think about this.”
However, the most stinging attack by the RJD came when Tiwari said, “Elections were in full swing here and Rahul Gandhi was having a picnic at Priyanka Ji’s house in Shimla. Is the party run like that? Allegations can be levelled that the manner in which Congress party is being run, it is benefitting BJP.”
Congress has become a liability on the alliance partners and slowly one party after another is discarding it. In Tamil Nadu, DMK blamed the poor strike rate of the Congress party for its performance as it won only 8 seats out of 41 it contested in the 2016 assembly election. Similarly, in the UP election in 2017, Congress won only 7 seats out of 105 it contested. In almost every state, whenever a regional party allies with Congress, the chances of its victory get further reduced given the poor strike rate of the party. In states like UP, Bihar, Jharkhand, and Tamil Nadu, Congress is almost wiped out, and it goes to regional players with a begging hand for more seats and ultimately causes their downfall.
And now, one after another regional party is throwing the Grand Old Party out of the alliance. Akhilesh Yadav, who allied with Congress in the 2017 assembly election, chose to stay away this time. However, the rift between RJD and Congress is more bitter because the two have been allies for the last two decades, but it seems the relationship has come to its end.