The Mahagathbandhan or Grand Alliance constitutes primarily the RJD and Congress. The Left parties CPI (M-L), CPI and CPM, which have some support base in Bihar, are the new entrants to the alliance. Having lost partners in the form of caste-based smaller players like Vikassheel Insaan Party, Rashtriya Lok Samata Party and Hindustan Awami Morcha (Secular), the RJD is hoping the three Left partners will prove adequate and has given them 29 seats. The CPI (M-L) especially has a good base in Bhojpur, Arwal, Jehanabad, Siwan, Katihar and rural Patna.
The RJD is banking mainly on Yadav (14% of the state population) and Muslim (17%) votes, and hopes the Congress will get it upper caste and Dalit votes. However, with the RJD’s main attraction still being supremo Lalu Prasad, it remains to be seen how his absence due to his imprisonment will affect the party’s vote base. Despite having passed on the political mantle to younger son Tejashwi, after family in-fighting, Lalu is believed to be still calling the shots. While there have been some ripples, like the exit of oldtimer Raghuvansh Prasad Singh over the promotion of Tejashwi and the way he is running the RJD, the 30-year-old who once nurtured ambitions of making it as a cricketer appears to be settling down.
The timing couldn’t be more opportune for the RJD as all the old players in Bihar politics give way to youngsters like Tejashwi and Chirag Paswan.
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