With an eye on 2024, alliance parties keep a close watch on fractious JD-U

Patna, March 5 (IANS)
After the formation of the Mahagathbandhan government in Bihar many leaders of the JD-U were not pleased with the decision of Chief Minister Nitish Kumar. Party leaders such as Upendra Kushwaha rebelled and now two-time MP Meena Singh has also resigned from the JD-U on the same issue.
These two leaders have shown an interest towards the Bharatiya Janata Party but no one could say that it is a saffron surgical strike on the JD-U.
The JD-U leaders denied any impact of the rebellions on the party but there is a perception in the political corridors of Bihar that Nitish Kumar is losing control over his party JD-U.
At present, the JD-U is part of the Mahagathbandhan (Grand Alliance) having seven parties and each one of them is closely observing the developments in the JD-U. The RJD, which is the single largest party in the Bihar Vidhan Sabha and is also a part of the Mahagathbandhan, is also closely monitoring it.
“These leaders had won the election due to the voters of the Mahagathbandhan. So, our voters are intact and they will vote for the Mahagathbandhan candidates in the upcoming elections and not because of these leaders. They have left the JD-U for their own political interests. The RJD or the Mahagathbandhan are by and large not affected by it,” said Bhai Virendra, RJD MLA from Maner assembly constituency and very close to party leader Tejashwi Yadav.
Shivanand Tiwari, the national vice president of the RJD, said that Upendra Kushwaha has some popularity but Meena Singh’s exit would not hurt the JD-U.
“If you remember, Upendra Kushwaha was in the Mahagathbandhan in the 2019 Lok Sabha election and managed to bag five Lok Sabha seats for his party, Rashtriya Lok Samata Party (RLSP). He contested that election from two seats and lost in both. Even in the Karakat Lok Sabha seat, a Kushwaha candidate Mahabali Singh defeated him. The other three RLSP candidates also lost that election,” Tiwari said.
“Still, I believe that Upendra Kushwaha is a leader of the Kushwaha (Koiri caste) and he may sway some votes of the Lav-Kush society. The Lok Sabha election will be contested only between two sides — the BJP and the Mahagathbandhan. These leaders are bending towards the BJP,” Tiwari said.
For the RJD, the M-Y (Muslim-Yadav) equation is no doubt a key factor but its leaders are keenly looking at the voters of other castes as well. Deputy chief minister Tejashwi Yadav advocated making the RJD a party of A to Z Biradari. Tejashwi Yadav through A to Z, wants to give a message that no one should feel afraid of the RJD.
For Tejashwi Yadav and other RJD leaders, keeping the core vote bank of the Muslim community will be the biggest challenge in the Lok Sabha election 2024. In the 2020 assembly election, they saw how AIMIM had deeply hurt the RJD in Seemanchal region. The AIMIM had won 5 assembly seats in that election and played the role of ‘Vote Katwa’ (vote spoiler) in more than 20 seats.
The BJP however claims that the way crime is increasing in Bihar, Nitish Kumar has lost control over the law and order situation and also his mental balance.
“After the formation of the Mahagathbandhan government in Bihar, the crime graph has gone up rapidly. Murders, loot, rapes, kidnapping, sand mining have become a regular feature in Bihar and Nitish Kumar has completely lost control over law and order. He is also losing his mental balance as well.
“One such example surfaced on Wednesday when he pointed out that a man was involved in a sexual act with an animal in the Bihar Vidhan Sabha. He does not know where he is standing and what he is saying in the Vidhan Sabha. Everyone was shocked. He has defamed the image of Bihar across the world,” said Arvind Kumar Singh, BJP spokesperson.
“Nitish Kumar has come to such a situation after his close proximity to the RJD,” he said.
“As far as the rebel leaders of the JD-U are concerned, they are leaving it only due to the RJD. Upendra Kushwaha and Meena Singh both blamed Nitish Kumar for his decision to join hands with the RJD. The BJP always welcomes those leaders who raise their voice against Jungle Raj,” Singh said.

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