The Indian National Lok Dal (INLD) has decided to felicitate Bihar Chief Minister and senior Janata Dal (United) leader Nitish Kumar at a rally in Karnal (Haryana) on March 6. Senior INLD leader Abhay Chautala, Leader of Opposition in the Haryana Assembly, had met Nitish during his last visit to the national capital and expressed the party’s desire to honour him. INLD chief Om Prakash Chautala, who is currently out on parole, is also expected to participate in the rally.
Coming after the JD(U) and RLD’s decision to join hands in the run-up to the UP Assembly polls, the INLD show is expected to set the stage for an eventual tie-up with the Chautala outfit also. According to sources, JD(U), RLD and INLD leaders have realised that it is time to revive the OBC-peasantry combination, which was broken in the aftermath of the implementation of the Mandal Commission report by former PM VP Singh. While JD(U) represents the backward castes, the parties led by Ajit Singh and Chautala represent the agrarian Jat community.
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When asked if it would be possible for the two senior Jat leaders, who once competed with each other for supremacy among the Jats spread over western UP, Haryana, Rajasthan and Delhi, to work together, sources said time had proved a big leveller. They argued that both had since mellowed down.
Sources in the JD(U), meanwhile, said senior leaders were treading cautiously after the failure of their last “unity project”. They added that while the previous move was initiated under pressure of the Bihar Assembly elections, there was no such compulsion now.
Speaking about the proposed realignment, a senior JD(U) leader cited the JNU and Hyderabad University controversies and said: “Look at the kind of issues we have to make do with.” He added that it was a pity that “real issues” of the peasantry and the poor figured nowhere.