February 28, 2022 10:54:49 am
In a fresh setback to the beleaguered Congress in Bihar, the scion of a politically influential family in the state on Sunday quit the party and joined Lalu Prasad’s RJD, its estranged ally.
Rishi Mishra, whose grandfather Lalit Narayan Mishra was the railway minister during Indira Gandhi’s prime ministership, was inducted into the RJD by Prasad’s younger son and heir apparent Tejashwi Yadav.
Mishra had joined the Congress in 2019, severing ties with the JD(U) of Chief Minister Nitish Kumar, Prasad’s arch rival. He had won a by-election on JD(U) ticket in 2014 but lost to the BJP a year later.
Talking to reporters on the occasion, Mishra claimed he was convinced that ‘RJD is the only party which can pose a credible challenge to the BJP in Bihar’.
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He, however, refrained from making any comments on the strained ties between Congress and RJD, saying it was a matter to be decided by the party’s top leadership.
Mishra had recently lashed out at the Congress leadership in the state, accusing it of promoting ‘self-interest’ at the cost of the party’s prospects.
His allusion was to speculations that BPCC chief Madan Mohan Jha was lobbying for a ticket for one of his children for the upcoming MLC polls, and the by-elections to a couple of assembly segments a few months ago in which the Congress’ insistence on fielding the son of former MLA Ashok Kumar from reserved Kusheshwar Asthan led to break-up with the RJD.
Tejaashwi Yadav said Mishra’s entry was yet another proof that RJD belonged to ‘A to Z’ (all sections of the society), a term to rubbish the claim of opponents that the party cared only for ‘MY’ (Muslim and Yadavs).
Mishra, whose granduncle Jagannath Mishra had been the state’s chief minister thrice, pledged to strengthen the party in the populous Mithila region of north Bihar, where his family continues to enjoy clout among Brahmins.
In a related development, former Union minister Devendra Yadav also visited Tejashwi Yadav’s residence and announced that he will merge his Samajwadi Janata Dal with the RJD.
“The merger will take place on March 23, coinciding with Ram Manohar Lohia’s birth anniversary,” said Yadav, who has formerly been with the RJD as well as the JD(U), and ranks among prominent OBC leaders from Mithila.
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