MY stands for Muslim and Yadav, a formula wrought by RJD supremo Lalu Prasad to climb to power in 1990. The year earlier had seen the bloody Bhagalpur riots in Bihar, in which over a thousand people were killed, many of them Muslims. The community felt betrayed by the Congress, led by its CM Satyendra Narayan Sinha, for its failure to manage the communal situation. Sinha did not even visit Bhagalpur after the riots. So the Muslims, around 17% of the state’s population, were waiting for someone to be their voice and Lalu, a charismatic leader who had been part of the JP Movement and the Janata Dal’s socialist politics, was the man present at the right time.
With Yadavs, 14% of Bihar’s population, also behind him, Lalu had a winning MY combination that kept the RJD in power till 2005. In 1990, the RJD head further consolidated his position among the Muslims by stopping L K Advani’s Rath Yatra for a Ram temple, in the state.
However, Lalu’s maths collapsed when pitted in a straight fight against the combined strength of Nitish Kumar’s JD(U) and the BJP in 2010. The latter two wielded a much wider number with their core base of OBCs and upper castes, and have not looked back since.
While the imprisoned Lalu is no longer in the picture, the fact that he won 80 seats in 2015, more than Nitish with his aura at the time, shows that the RJD chief still retains his MY core vote bank.
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