Janata Dal (United) president Sharad Yadav is all set to take an initiative to resolve the differences between Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar and RJD leader Lalu Prasad and stitch up a broad alliance to take on the BJP in the coming assembly polls.
The JD(U) chief, currently on a tour of Madhepura in Bihar, is expected to reach Patna on Friday and meet both Nitish and Lalu.
Even though the mutual warmth generated between Nitish and Lalu after their defeat at the hands of the BJP in the Lok Sabha polls has given way to a verbal battle through their proxies, the JD(U) chief is still confident of a patch-up between them.
“There is no question of our (Janata Parivar leaders) falling apart…..People have left us with no choice…..Their message to us through the assembly by-elections held in Bihar after Lok Sabha polls is clear…..We (the JD-U and RJD) will contest Bihar polls together in alliance with the Congress, the Left parties and the NCP,” Sharad Yadav told The Indian Express.
Though Yadav did not divulge the formula he had in mind for bringing Nitish and Lalu together again, sources in the JD(U) told The Indian Express that the party is ready to part with 100 of the 243 seats for the RJD, keeping the same number for itself. Of the remaining 43 seats, they said 30 to 32 could be given to the Congress.
The two Communist parties could be offered eight to 10 seats and the NCP, two.
“We have 108 sitting MLAs and we are ready to sacrifice eight of them…..Lalu has only 24 and we have no problem increasing their share to 100,” said a JD (U) leader.
“However, Nitish will be projected as the joint chief ministerial candidate as he is a brand and all candidates of the proposed combination would gain from his projection,” he added.
The JD(U), according to sources, had no problem fixing the quotas of all partners in the post-poll ministry and even distribute portfolios in advance. At the same time, they ruled out the possibility of any alliance partner (meaning Lalu) being given the deputy chief ministership because “a provision of two centres of power runs counter to the demand of an effective governance.”
At the same time, they said, a member of Lalu’s family, depending upon his choice of the person, would be given “a prominent position.”
Apart from the expected peace bid by Yadav, the JD(U) sees the recent meeting of RJD leader Bhola Prasad Yadav, MLC, with the Bihar Chief Minister at the latter’s residence as a positive signal by Lalu in the midst of provocative statements of another RJD leader, Raghuvansh Prasad Singh.
In political circles of Bihar, Bhola Prasad Yadav, given his closeness to the RJD chief, is jokingly dubbed as much of a proxy for Lalu just as Rabri Devi. The underlying meaning of his meeting with Nitish is that Lalu is keeping his options open. Here lies the relevance of Sharad Yadav’s initiative.