Tuesday, April 16, 2024
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Left feels neglected in Bihar; jdu, rjd, Congress not on the same page

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Personality clash intensifies in India bloc ahead of Rahul’s Nyay Yatra

By Arun Srivastava

If the unpredictable posture of Nitish Kumar has been the main factor for demoralising the INDIA constituents in Bihar, the propensity of RJD chief Lalu Yadav not to treat the Left parties as equals has further aggravated the situation to the point of turning the INDIA bloc suspect in the eyes of the people of Bihar.
Not only the leaders of the Left parties are uncertain about the number of seats they would be offered by RJD, even the JD(U) leadership has passed the buck to Lalu. The general secretary of JD(U), KC Tyagi, alluding to the responsibility of seat sharing quipped: “We have made our stand very clear. So, if the Congress and the Left parties have to talk about seat sharing, they should do so with the Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD), not with us.”
This simply underscores the deep frustration that has gripped the JD(U) leadership. Some senior JD(U) leaders nurse the feeling that Lalu Yadav has been resorting to coercive mechanisms simply for pushing Nitish to the wall. The RJD leadership has been creating pressure on Nitish for some time that Tejashvi should have been installed as the chief minister before the Lok Sabha polls. Since Nitish is taking his own time, the issue has upset the RJD leadership. The recent communication gap between Tejashvi and Nitish owes to this factor.
Realising the electoral importance of Bihar, the Left leaders are confident that both Lalu and Nitish will finally have to concede to their demands, but they feel hurt at the manner in which Lalu has been treating them as pariahs. The RJD leadership has made it known to the Left leaders that it was not possible to give more than one seat each to CPI(ML) and CPI. This has certainly not gone well with the CPI(ML). In the present assembly, it has 12 members.
The Left is more angry with the RJD as it was treating Congress as more strong and effective than the Left in Bihar. In the 2020 assembly election, it was at the initiative of RJD, the Congress was allotted 70 seats, while it could win only 19. The CPI(ML) contested 18 but managed to win 12 seats. The stubborn attitude of RJD leadership even forced the CPI general secretary D Raja to come to Patna and meet Nitish, when he suggested adopting a pragmatic approach towards the Left. He also staked the claim for Begusarai, the traditional seat of the CPI. Raja would also be meeting Lalu Yadav and Tejashvi to sort out the vexed issue.
However, on its part, the Congress is unwilling to give up its claim on Begusarai seat, as Kanhaiya Kumar had contested from it as the Congress candidate in the 2019 elections. At that time the RJD had also put up its candidate. Begusarai has been the stronghold of the upper caste Bhumihars and the union minister Giriraj Singh, a Bhumihar, represents this seat in the current house. In the past the CPI stalwart, a Bhumihar leader Chandra Shekhar Singh used to represent this seat.
Apart from the electoral chemistry, the primary reason for Lalu not to concede to the Left more seats owes to his sense of insecurity. In the 2020 assembly elections, the Left Front won most seats on their own. The Dalits, EBC, agricultural labourers and even a major section of the Muslims have rallied behind the Left. Since then, Lalu and Tejashvi have been apprehensive of the rise of the Left forces in the state. Incidentally, RJD and CPI(ML) share the same electorate base. But there is a major difference in nature and contour. While the RJD mainly depends on the rich and affluent Yadavs and backward caste people, the CPI(ML) has a large following among the poor and the proletariat.
Lalu and his RJD leaders are scared that giving more seats to CPI(ML) and other Left parties would enable them to expand their base and network in the state that would prove to be detrimental to their interest. In recent years, CPI(ML) has emerged as a major political force in the state and at some places the local level cadres of RJD, belonging to EBC, Muslims, have joined it.
Nevertheless, the JD(U) leaders are quite upset with the Congress and especially with Rahul Gandhi. They feel that Rahul has failed to keep his leaders under check. While it is a known fact that Bharat Jodo Yatra has been the brainchild of the Congress, especially Rahul, and they insist that the Bharat Jodo Nyay Yatra, which will be launched on January 14, should have been undertaken under the banner of INDIA. “We have nothing against Rahul Gandhi’s yatra. It would have been better had the Congress taken the lead in organising a yatra by the INDIA parties,” Tyagi said. “We want a strong Congress. We want a strong Rahul Gandhi. But the Congress too should reciprocate, it is not doing so.” Intriguingly, the JD(U) leaders are not willing to acknowledge that it was the public laagering by their leadership that has cast a shadow on the yatra.
KC Tyagi articulating the sentiments of the Nitish Kumar camp, alleged that the Congress was resorting to highhandedness. He even made it categorically clear that the JD(U) will contest 16 of the 40 seats in Bihar with a stern “no compromise” message. He also sought to know why the Congress does not want to spare any seat for INDIA partners in Haryana, in Rajasthan, in Madhya Pradesh, in Chhattisgarh, as well as in Karnataka.
It is equally surprising that while Modi will launch his election campaign from Bihar on January 13, JD(U) leaders are ruing about the INDIA bloc not respecting the stature of Nitish. Just ahead of a week of the launch of Bharat Nyay Yatra, Tyagi struck a discordant note saying, “Nitish’s stature is much above the convener’s post. He is the architect of INDIA. JD(U) wanted ‘samuhik’ (collective) leadership for the INDIA bloc without any particular PM-face.”
If the seat sharing scene is not cheerful in Bihar, will have an impact on Uttar Pradesh..Already, SP chief Akhilesh Yadav has outstripped his PDA and relegated the INDIA bloc to a lower position. He did not hide his averseness to INDIA, and especially to the Congress. Akhilesh is opposed to the Congress’s move to have good relations with Mayawati. Surprisingly, his views were echoed by JD(U) leader Tyagi: “Mayawati (the BSP supremo) is known for her stand against the Opposition bloc. So why are some Congress leaders eager to align with the BSP?”
This is an ominous sign. Irrespective of the fact whether it is Bihar or UP, the regional parties representing the intermediate castes, Yadavs, Koiris and Kurmis, are against identifying with the aspirations of the Dalits, EBC and the proletariats. Had it not been the case, how could Lalu and Akhilesh dare to ignore the compulsions of real politics and the urgency to defeat BJP by not acknowledging their relevance? (IPA Service)

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