Will the Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) in Bihar bounce back after the release of Lalu Prasad Yadav from prison? Lalu, who is currently undergoing medical treatment at Delhi’s AIIMS was granted bail on health grounds. His bail can be immediately suspended if he is found to be knowingly violating the terms and conditions of his bail, given his stature within the ranks and cadres of the RJD hierarchy.
How Tejashwi Prasad Yadav conducts divergent views and opinions within the party forum will be a key for the party in expanding its electoral base and constituency, apart from the formidable Muslim-Yadav (M-Y) combination with a limited political purchase on ground in comparison to Nitish Kumar’s Mahadalit and most backward caste mastery and mobilisation, which did the trick for him in the last state assembly elections.
No doubt, with 74 seats, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) became the number one partner in the Nitish alliance, only one short of RJDs 75. Though Nitish had to contend with 43 seats, he did so with political clarity and maturity, and played his part convincingly by inducting Rashtriya Lok Samta’s Upendra Kushwaha. This step was aimed at capturing and cultivating the votes of the Luv-Kush (Koeri Kurmi) community. This way, Nitish politically profited from his party’s schemes and measures aimed at ameliorating the Mahadalits and the most backward castes of the state — Nonia, Dhanuk, Musahar, Mallah and all.
Chirag Paswan may have spoiled Nitish’s tally, but the latter’s ability to announce a comeback was stunning, given the high decibel anti-incumbency that made him thoroughly unacceptable to the masses. Still, he fished through troubled waters and deployed all his skills, strategy and expertise as the leader of his party and as the Chief Minister of Bihar.
These are some lessons for Tejashwi, who is relatively younger and has to go a long mile in politics to establish his credibility and character before the population of Bihar. Definitely, he should try his hands at it by visibly politicising the issues and concerns of the lower OBCs and SCs.
Secondly, appointing them at key party positions would serve the purpose of social justice and empowerment, which has been RJDs theme since its Lalu days. Thirdly, if he were to win Jitan Ram Manjhi and Mukesh Sahani’s confidence, then political power will be a done deal for this Yadav scion. Laluji would want to enjoy the show by staying behind and tacitly endorsing Tejashwi’s vision.