Despite being Bihar alliance partners, Cong trusts Lalu more than Nitish

Despite being an alliance partner in Bihar’s ruling government, the Congress banks on Lalu Prasad more than state’s Chief Minister Nitish Kumar. — IANS

Manoj Pathak

Patna, Oct 29 (IANS) Despite being an alliance partner in Bihar’s ruling government, the Congress banks on Lalu Prasad more than state’s Chief Minister Nitish Kumar.

Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) and Congress are the coalition partners in ruling Janata Dal United (JD-U) government led by Nitish Kumar in Bihar, 

Recently, several political developments in the state have indicated that the RJD and Congress do not have unwavering faith in Nitish Kumar.

Meanwhile, the JD-U has made it clear by fielding its candidates in the Madhya Pradesh Assembly elections that its strategy keeps evolving, raising doubts for the Congress regarding the JD-U’s intentions.

After Nitish Kumar praised the BJP during the convocation ceremony at Mahatma Gandhi Central University in Motihari, the Congress and RJD became cautious.

Following this, when the JD-U hinted at its strategy by fielding 10 candidates in the Madhya Pradesh elections, RJD President Lalu Prasad attended the birth anniversary celebration of former Chief Minister Krishna Singh at the Congress state office.

Over a decade, RJD and Congress have been walking hand in hand not only in Bihar’s politics but also in national politics. The proximity between Congress and RJD might suggest their intention to unite the opposition, with Nitish Kumar playing a pivotal role, but Lalu Prasad has hinted at Congress leader Rahul Gandhi becoming the “groom” and everyone else part of the “wedding procession,” symbolising the alliance of opposition parties.

JD-U leaders also believe that a tacit understanding between RJD and Congress cannot be ruled out. 

When asked about Lalu Prasad visiting the Congress state office after eight years and attending Krishna Singh’s birth anniversary celebration, Bihar minister and JDU leader Ashok Choudhary stated that there is a good understanding between RJD and Congress. Both parties have been working together for a long time.

Though the JD-U doesn’t have a strong foothold in Madhya Pradesh, but their announcement of candidates in those 10 constituencies might disrupt Congress’ game plan.

An RJD leader, speaking on anonymity, stated that RJD hasn’t forgotten how Nitish Kumar formed a government with them in 2015 and later parted ways. He also mentioned that they don’t know what decisions Nitish Kumar might take and trusting him blindly could be dangerous.

Ajay Kumar, a political expert in Bihar, also suggests that Congress and JD-U are playing their own political games. Discussions about expanding the ministerial council in Bihar have been going on. Congress has been demanding ministerial positions according to their quota but so far, there hasn’t been any expansion. Congress is also unhappy with Nitish over this issue.

He said that so far, it seems that Nitish doesn’t make any decisions without a strategy. There might be a purpose behind fielding candidates in Madhya Pradesh. Nonetheless, Nitish’s special strategy is keeping his allies under pressure.

It remains to be seen whether he will continue with the Congress or opt for a different path.

Meanwhile, discussions regarding Nitish as the coordinator of the opposition bloc continue, however the name of the coordinator for the INDIA bloc hasn’t been decided yet.

Nitish’s name has also been discussed for the convenor of the opposition parties alliance, but till now the name of the convenor in the INDIA bloc has not been decided.

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