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Wednesday 29 January 2020

RJD, Owaisi urge Nitish to break free of alliance with BJP

'In this campaign, all non-BJP parties must come on one platform; no party should be left out. Everyone is welcome, including CM Nitish Kumar,' said RJD vice president Raghuvansh Prasad Singh

Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) national vice president Raghuvansh Prasad Singh has reiterated that all non-BJP political parties including Janata Dal (United) [JD(U)] should come together to oust the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) from power. Earlier, All India Majlis-e-Ittehad-ul Muslimeen (AIMIM) head Asaduddin Owaisi had asked Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar to shun the company of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and BJP president Amit Shah. If the JD(U) chief does that, AIMIM will support the opposition alliance, Owaisi had said.

Singh had made a similar appeal on 30 November 2019. Singh had said then, “If non-BJP parties come together in Bihar on the lines of Maharashtra, the NDA will be defeated. There is no other way left.” He suggested that the RJD could succeed in defeating the BJP if the RJD were to behave in Bihar as the Shiv Sena did in Maharashtra. “That’s the formula to defeat the BJP,” he said.

Talking to news agency ANI, the RJD leader said today that all political parties should unite against BJP. “In this campaign, all non-BJP political parties must come on one platform. No party should be left out. Everyone is welcome, including Chief Minister Nitish Kumar,” he said.

Earlier, on 30 December in Kishanganj, AIMIM chief and Hyderabad MP Asaduddin Owaisi had appealed to Chief Minister Kumar to break his ties with BJP. Owaisi had said that Kumar had earned a name on the merit of his work. If Nitish Kumar leaves Prime Minister Narendra Modi and BJP president Amit Shah, he will support him, Owaisi said.

Vulnerability of BJP in case of RJD-JD(U) alliance

The RJD-JD(U) combination gives the alliance a formidable lead in caste-ridden voting patterns in Bihar, where the BJP then begins with a mathematical disadvantage, with most OBCs led by the Yadavs vote en bloc for their caste representatives, as seen in the 2015 Assembly election.

Furthermore, the BJP lacks State leaders of the stature of Nitish Kumar and Lalu Prasad Yadav, notwithstanding the taint the latter suffers due to his conviction and incarceration for the fodder scam. While Bihar remains an economically backward State, voters by an large see Nitish Kumar’s rule better than what had been witnessed before him.

It was seen in the 2015 election that the Socialist Secular Morcha, the BSP, Muslim parties and the communist parties failed to garner enough votes to eat into the anti-Hindutva votes and thus help the BJP. The only issue with such a ‘mahagathbandhan‘ remains Nitish Kumar’s ego. Regardless of his inability to win elections, and his JD(U)’s poor strike rate vis-à-vis RJD’s or BJP’s, he stays in an alliance only when he is decidedly the numero uno in the government.

Gauging this vulnerability of the BJP well, a section of the JD(U) has begun a tough bargain, with their leader and election manager Prashant Kishor demanding the larger share in seat-distribution between the BJP, JD(U), LJP and smaller parties that join the ruling alliance at the time of an election.

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