Nearly four years after an alliance between Congress and RJD broke down, Sonia-Gandhi-led ruling party is considering forming a possible alliance with Lalu Prasad Yadav’s party over ex-Bihar Chief Minister’s promise to not to repeat the 2009 mistakes in future. The RJD-Congress tie-up had collapsed in 2009 when Lalu Prasad offered only three seats to Congress. The three parties – Lalu Prasad’s Rashtriya Janta Dal (RJD), Congress and Ram Vilas Paswan’s Lok Janashakti Party (LJP) had contested 2009 Lok Sabha elections separately, earning four, two and none seats respectively, which was a sharp contrast to 2004 Lok Sabha polls when they together won 29 seats.
The speculation about the possible alliance came after Prasad met Congress Vice President Rahul Gandhi in a closed-door meeting in the capital on Thursday where the leaders were believed to have discussed their alliance in Bihar besides the current political situation. Prasad had previously met Sonia Gandhi few days ago and would again meet her later this month to work out on seat-sharing details. Although he did not go into details, Lalu Prasad stressed that the secular forces should come together and flush out “communal forces” from Bihar and Jharkhand. In a comparison between Rahul Gandhi, Narendra Modi and Arvind Kejriwal, RJD chief puts his choice Rahul on top, describing him a million times better than his political counterparts.
However, Rahul is in no hurry this time about any electoral understanding with RJD for state’s 40 Lok Sabha seats. Rahul, in fact, is skeptical about Lalu Prasad’s recent conviction in the multi-crore fodder scam case, which ex-Bihar CM alleged is an act of current Chief Minister Nitish Kumar, BJP and CBI. Bihar Congress is divided on this issue with majority favors the RJD-LJP-Congress alliance but a few also advocates for an alliance with Nitish Kumar’s Janta Dal (United). The young leaders, on the other hand, want to continue with the existing political strategy. According to Congress observers, the party should give another chance to alliance, as they believe this could better its performance in 2004 when it won 32 seats in Bihar constituency. However, Congress could not overlook Aam Aadmi Party’s stunning emergence at the national stage.
All eyes are on January 17 when a decision in this regard is expected at the All India Congress Committee session that would change fates of Congress and RJD in the days to come.
By Akash Tripathy