Why I Am Rooting For RJD’s Return To Power In Bihar

Posted by Sibte Hassan in Politics
August 10, 2017

To me, it was very clear that the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) raided Lalu Prasad Yadav’s premises with the aim of dissolving a government which was becoming an obstacle to the BJP led Union government in the upcoming elections.

It has been over a month since the FIR was filed and the CBI has not arrested the accused. Meanwhile, the BJP leaders have come up with an entire sheet of allegations. Such allegations and accusations have put Tejashwi Yadav into the limelight.

The political party Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) started with a new zeal in Bihar under the leadership of Tejashwi Yadav. He took part in the recent Champaran ‘padyatra’ as a commemoration of Gandhi’s own Satyagraha in the region 100 years ago. Historically, the RSS itself opposed freedom movements and was absent from many such struggles. The paid media may show the ‘Janadesh Apman Yatra‘ as a caste based initiative. But for me, it was a setback to the agenda of showing the Yadav family in a poor light for opposing the Centre’s line.

Tejashwi Yadav’s entry into politics marked the beginning of a new and updated version of RJD. The fall from government should be a lesson to the party. Hopefully, it’s the last one because the party has the capability to be a face of opposition.

There is a fear of Lalu because he has a large segment of Bihar’s population behind him. He is the hero of social development. The socially backward people had to starve before the Mandal Commission. The unsung hero of the Mandal era is Lalu Prasad Yadav. He was charged with corruption in the fodder scam case, in which funds were being embezzled from the Bihar government treasury during Lalu Prasad Yadav’s tenure as Bihar’s Chief Minister. The Patna high court had ordered the CBI to investigate. Earlier this month, he appeared before a CBI court in Ranchi for trial.

Image Credit: Santosh Kumar/Hindustan Times via Getty Images

The mandate of 2015 Bihar elections marked the beginning of a new inning for cricketer-turned-politician Tejashwi Yadav. There was an uproar in the media over a person who had only studied till class 9 handling the system and government. But they were so biased that they forgot about the dubious educational qualifications of our own Prime Minister. At least we should be grateful to the Tejashwi for not bringing a fake degree. We never questioned Sachin Tendulkar’s Rajya Sabha entry even though he failed his higher secondary examination.

Does an aspiring cricketer need a degree? How many Indian cricketers have graduation or post graduation degrees? Similarly, legislative posts in India have never required such educational qualifications. Maybe Tejashwi was not academically excellent but I think he was showing his excellence in governance. He was modestly playing the role which was given to him. The extensive and cumulative approach towards development was smoothly progressing and his increasing popularity gave a new shape to Bihar’s politics.

Not only had Nitish Kumar become the Chief Minister but Tejashwi had also become a hero. He was appointed the Deputy Chief Minister and is currently the leader of opposition in the Bihar assembly, making him the youngest opposition leader in the country. This in itself is a milestone for a young and aspiring leader.

With a new battle to fight, the party should have a new approach, a new focus and new agendas. RJD always had a strong base in the rural areas. There should be a focus to make this base tighter. The youth have started joining RJD. And Tej Pratap’s Dharmanirpeksha (Secular) Sevak Sangh (DSS) must emerge as a parallel organisation of the party to reach out to the workers and the voters. Focus on Muslim votes should be more emphasised. The caste system that exists among Muslims in Bihar has pushed Muslims from lower castes into the hands of the JDU. RJD should develop a new batch of Muslim leaders who come from lower caste backgrounds. They can be an asset for the party. Abdul Bari Siddiqui, Mohammed Taslimuddin, Mohammad Shahabuddin, Ali Ashraf Fatmi and Tanveer Hassan are the ones who need to be reached out to in case of division among Muslim votes.

RJD never opposed upper caste Hindus. It only urged them to come forward and help their idea of socialism to evolve. The poor sections of the upper caste should be reached out to. The party needs to not only stand for the lower castes but for the poor in general. There should be a booth level team to strengthen the party at the district level. RJD’s core voting areas should be energised to advocate and advertise the party’s agenda.

Party workers are the gems of the party and they should be treated well. The ratio of state level and district level meetings should increase and the party should start a new membership drive to keep the workers and supporters busy.

As opposition, RJD can play a vital role and grab the utmost position by pointing out the faults and shortcomings of the government. As we all know, Nitish Kumar is a political mastermind and it won’t be easy ousting him. But nevertheless, Lalu and the RJD have always chosen to accomplish impossible tasks. RJD should start again the fight for a caste-wise census so that we all get to know the numerical analysis behind the caste demography. Bihar is not only Patna; we need to know the conditions and situations of all 38 districts.

Lalu’s time in government not only coined social development but also paved a way for socio-economic development. The JDU-BJP alliance had often spoken about development. However, being a good speaker doesn’t make one an able ruler though it can help out an opportunist. Currently, the state of education in Bihar is deplorable.

The RJD needs to see this as the start of a new dawn. They need to take their idea of socialism to a new level. It is a new beginning and the RJD should mark it.