Lalu Prasad Yadav will have to be innovative during this election and not just pin hopes on the MY (Muslim-Yadav) factor the RJD brand of social engineering that paid rich dividends in the 2004 Lok Sabha polls. The JD(U) is fast catching up,threatening to upset Lalus magic formula.
It was mainly because of this factor that the RJD won 22 seats in Bihar last time against the JD(U) and BJPs six and five seats respectively. Muslims and Yadavs comprise 16 per cent and 11 per cent of the states population respectively.
The last Assembly election results showed that the UPA could unsettle the RJDs MY theory. A squabbling UPA,new constituency geography after delimitation and the development plank of Nitish Kumar might suit the NDA well, says Srikant,a political analyst and author. He says the RJDs vote share went down from 30.67 in the 2004 Lok Sabha elections to 23.45 in the 2005 Assembly elections. This means Muslims and Yadavs who constitute 27 per cent votes otherwise traditional RJD voters,voted either in lesser numbers or voted for the JD(U) and BJP. Srikant says delimitation has changed caste compositions in over a dozen Lok Sabha seats,making it for difficult for the RJD to gain from the MY factor. This election is going to be a test for social engineering. The Muslims general aversion to the BJP because of its Hindutva ideology can be the only factor against the NDA. One or two per cent vote swing will be the decider.
The JD(U) believes it can overcome the MY factor,and the party has been at it for some time now. To start with,it has been weaning away Yadav leaders from Lalus party since the last Assembly elections and kept the momentum going in the run-up to the Lok Sabha polls.
Ranjan Prasad Yadav,who came to the JD(U) recently via the LJP,was once touted as the brain behind the social engineering. He had played a key role in galvanising Yadav support for the RJD.
Ranjan,who quit as LJP vice-president over a likely poll pact with the RJD,may well upset Lalus calculations. His Jagran Manch,an apolitical outfit,has started working overtime to get fellow Yadavs into the JD(U) fold. The fact that 38 of 55 Yadav MLAs are in JD(U),BJP and other non-RJD parties does make it clear that Lalu has lost his hold, says Ranjan.
The RJDs MY theory has developed more cracks with its minority cell chief Nemtullah joining the JD(U) last week. Nemtullah says he was disenchanted with the RJDs false promises of Muslim uplift and hollow slogan of secularism. The RJD took advantage of minorities for a long time. There was little progress for us during the Lalu-Rabri rule, he says.
Meanwhile,RJD spokesperson Shyam Rajak said some opportunists leaving the party would not affect RJDs fortunes.