He may have provided unconditional support to Nitish Kumar’s JD(U) government but that has not helped Lalu Prasad secure an alliance with the JD(U) for the Bihar polls next year. Asked about such an alliance, Lalu remained noncommittal: “There are no such issues right now.”
Sources said there had been two attempts to test the waters for an alliance that would unite the non-BJP vote, but the RJD has not found reciprocation from the JDU side. Consequently, RJD leaders have reasoned that the RJD’s vote share in the Lok Sabha polls was much higher than the JD(U)’s; hence any alliance would benefit the JD(U) more than the RJD.
RJD leaders say they have sensed the JD(U) believes the BJP’s upper caste votes would split with part of them coming to the JD(U). And JD(U) sources said an alliance with Lalu would suit the BJP, which would play on a “return to jungle raj” theme.
It is also looking increasingly unlikely that the JD(U) would agree to support an RJD candidate for a Rajya Sabha seat, expected to be Rabri Devi.
“I keep hearing that Rabri Devi will be Rajya Sabha MP or Misa Bharti would be a minister in Bihar. All these things are non-issues right now,” Lalu said Wednesday at 25 Tughlaq Road, his home in Delhi.
A HUSEIN DELHI
Lalu had been entitled to the 25 Tughlaq Road house as a minister and senior MP. Now, none of the four newly elected MPs of the RJD is entitled to as spacious a government bungalow as the one where he has been staying for so many years. The RJD has started house-hunting in Delhi.
The UPA government during its final months had extended Lalu’s stay in the house until October this year. Lalu has been paying over Rs 1 lakh as monthly rent, sources said, but added he is keen to move out in a month or so.
Party insiders had earlier assessed the possibility of getting the house allotted in the name of one of the present MPs, including Lalu’s confidant Prem Chand Gupta of the Rajya Sabha, but that has not worked out. “We are looking for a private residence. It might be finalised by next month,” said a senior RJD leader.