With Lalu attacking JD(U)’s ‘weak’ governance and Manjhi playing Dalit card, Nitish goes back to yatra politics

Nitish Kumar is caught between personal ambition of CM Manjhi and "recalcitrance" of Lalu Prasad.

Written by Santosh Singh | Patna | Published: October 24, 2014 3:21 pm
 JD(U) senior leader Nitish Kumar addresses a protest dharna for special status to Bihar, in Patna on Monday. (Source: PTI) JD(U) senior leader Nitish Kumar addresses a protest dharna for special status to Bihar, in Patna on Monday. (Source: PTI)

BJP’s victory in Maharashtra and Haryana Assembly elections may have caused discomfort and some amount of self-doubt in the much-touted grand alliance of RJD-JD (U)-Congress, but it still has not given these parties a sense of urgency to come together with a common poll plank. All top Bihar leaders from grand alliance camp have been backing on their individual strengths rather than pursuing a common goal against BJP.

While RJD chief Lalu Prasad has been recovering from heart surgery, party vice president and former Union minister Raghuvansh Prasad Singh has started the party campaign, of course, with backing from Lalu Prasad, to take up “issue of public concerns”. Singh has, in fact, chosen 34-point agenda to attack JD (U) more than the ruling NDA.

Amidst such backdrop, former chief minister Nitish Kumar is back to his own Yatra politics, all by himself. He is back to renew his old agenda of demanding special status for Bihar, which otherwise failed to emerge a poll plank in last Lok Sabha elections. RJD legislature party leader AB Siddiqui asks how Nitish Kumar is thinking of consolidating alliance with RJD and giving it a formal shape when he is “running his own tune” to gain his lost political ground. Kumar will start his Sampark Yatra from West Champaran, again invoking Champaran symbolism of Gandhi, from 13 November and will cover two districts in a day.

Bihar Chief Minister Jeetan Ram Manjhi is bent on further “ultra Dalit” agenda, which has made the task of forging a strong grand alliance all the more difficult. Manjhi told a public gathering at Gaya on Thursday that Dalits, who are about 16 per cent of Bihar population, can make it count in next Assembly election. “I was made chief minister. If there is a greater political awareness, Dalits are in a position to choose its leader (read CM) after next polls, ” said Manjhi, who has earlier courted controversy for asking Dalits”to raise their numbers” by inter-caste marriage.

Nitish Kumar, the “yatri” trying to back his development politics, is now caught between personal ambition of Manjhi and “recalcitrance” of Lalu Prasad to not “allow him become a leader of grand alliance”. Nitish, who looks desperate to keep his pan-Indian appeal intact by joining meeting of regional parties outside Bihar, has now challenge at his own turf. The special status plank is the only thing that may get him into focus. But then, it remains to be seen how he tries to convince people against resurgent BJP under Narendra Modi.

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  1. A
    Oct 24, 2014 at 12:30 pm
    Nitish thought that with Laloo in jail, he will get all the Muslim votes. Nitish's arithmetic was 16% dalits, 20% Muslims and 18% Kurmi vote will make him formidable in the state against a BJP or RJD party. He was dreaming of 35 seats for JD(U). His dreams came crashing down when Laloo was released, Muslims stuck to RJD and the other castes who voted for JD(U) for good governance abandoned him.
    1. A
      Oct 25, 2014 at 6:34 am
      nitish will rue for severing its ties with bjp. lalu and congress are on the wane and more often than not are at logger head for crumbs of power. the caste factor will be minimal. people will chose development over anything else as consideration for voting.
      1. C
        Oct 24, 2014 at 12:12 pm
        Lalu will go back to his home in tihar soon, Spineless Congress will slip into oblivion, JDU has scripted its end, MODI will rule Our Bihar.....
        1. Sudeep Kanjilal
          Oct 24, 2014 at 3:42 pm
          Nitish is the Kejri of Bihar!
          1. N
            narasimman laxman
            Oct 24, 2014 at 10:27 am
            I feel sorry for nitish who believed advani more than anyone and acted on his advice to revolt against modi. if nitish has guts even now he can tell this openly and instead of protecting advani's personal and selfish game nitish has to open out in media that he don't have any animosity but for advani's ideas been followed and put advani in dust bin would be a better game plan for nitish to come back nationally with development plank which he started in Bihar. if nitish is true to development he has to show now as he is now seen as a spoiler. no one would believe if he goes for yatra asking special status instead of his party man as c.m not asking shows nitish in poor light. but certainly I feel sorry for nitish as even sharad dropped him suddenly to join with lalu. now lalu has become clever and brave. manjhi is doing rabble rousing politics which wont cut ice with people. but sushil modi seemingly unable to unite bjp is bigger malice. sushil modi has to reach out to all of state bjp by talking openly and allowing them their space is intelligent leadership. always a person knowing his/her strength, weakness will do take all along by openness and sharing his/her perspective of final goal of bjp government in bihar. and truly working collectively towards the goal wheartedly, united will serve better for one and all.
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