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Advantage Nitish: BJP ally bags RJD,LJP Muslim faces

The Janata Dal(United) has often been accused of “sitting in the lap of the communal BJP” by RJD chief Lalu Prasad Yadav and LJP supremo Ram Vilas Paswan.....

Written by Santosh Singh |
April 6, 2009 11:49:24 pm

The Janata Dal(United) has often been accused of “sitting in the lap of the communal BJP” by RJD chief Lalu Prasad Yadav and LJP supremo Ram Vilas Paswan,who have proudly flaunted their ‘social engineering’ formulae — Muslim-Yadav and Muslim-Dalit respectively. Yet,the two new allies are fast losing a sizeable chunk of their minority leaders to Nitish Kumar’s party.

While the entire minority cell of the RJD,under Mohammed Nematullah,joined the JD(U) last month,the LJP’s former state president and lone Muslim face Ghulam Rasool Baliyawi also jumped ship to Nitish Kumar’s party for its “secular credentials” on Thursday.

Although Nitish Kumar has managed to gain the support of several other leaders from the RJD and LJP — the latest triumph being the defection of RJD MP Vijay Krishna who had defeated Nitish in 2004 from Barh parliamentary constituency — it’s the weaning away of Muslim faces from avowedly secular parties that has put the JD(U) leadership in self-congratulatory mode.

Nitish Kumar says that this goes to prove that the JD(U) is,if anything,more secular than its rivals and that Nematullah and Baliyawi had “exposed the fake secular credentials” of Lalu Prasad and Ram Vilas Paswan. “There was a time when no meeting of the LJP could be held without Baliyawi. But Paswan gave him a raw deal,” said Nitish.

JD(U) spokesperson Shivanand Tiwari added that Ram Vilas Paswan had forced a second Assembly election in 2005 by saying that he wanted a Muslim chief minister. “That man could have been Baliyawi only. The same Baliyawi has taken away the heart and soul of the LJP to the JD(U),” said Tiwari.

Baliyawi,meanwhile,says that he has no qualms about the JD(U)’s alliance with the BJP. “Nitish Kumar is the only one concerned about the minority community. As for the JD(U)’s ties with the BJP,Muslims of the country were not under any threat when Atal Bihari Vajpayee was the prime minister for six long years.”

Nitish,of course,says he has done plenty for the minority community. “Our Government has taken several measures for Muslims,including fencing 8,064 cemeteries,scholarships to students and incentives to those getting a first division in matriculation.”

Last month,Nematullah had given a big jolt to MY (Muslim-Yadav) leader Lalu Prasad as well. “The RJD minority cell has joined JD-U lock,stock and barrel. This marks the real change in how the minority community has started viewing the leadership of the state of late,” said a JD(U) leader.

Meanwhile,the RJD and LJP are putting up a brave front and say they are at no serious loss with these shifting of loyalties. While Lalu Prasad recently said he was not particularly sorry to see “opportunists” leaving his party,LJP leaders have expressed their confidence that Baliyawi’s desertion not make any dent in its Muslim votes.

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