With the assembly elections approaching in Bihar, poaching of leaders and legislators of rival camps seem to be the name of the game for bettering electoral prospects.
The ruling Janata Dal-United (JD-U) seems to have taken the lead in offering a red-carpet welcome to trusted aides of RJD supremo Lalu Prasad.
The party recently inducted five RJD legislators Beema Bharti, Srikant Nirala, Rajesh Singh, Raj Kishore Yadav and Ram Lakhan Mahto.
A close aide of Mr. Prasad and former Minister Shyam Rajak joined the JD(U) earlier.
Senior RJD leaders such as Mohammed Taslimuddin, Shyam Rajak, Ramai Ram, Nihora Singh Yadav, Bhim Singh and Mangnilal Mandal have gone over to the ruling party.
“People leave for greener pastures. What is wrong in that?” state JD(U) chief Vijay Choudhary asked.
On the other hand, former MP Prabhunath Singh had gone over from the JD(U) to the RJD.
Besides Prabhunath Singh, several senior JD(U) leaders, including former vice-chairman in the legislative council Vijendra Choudhary and two sitting MLAs Kedarnath Singh and Ramprevesh Rai joined the RJD recently.
Mr. Kumar, though appeared unperturbed.
“Wait for some time ... they have taken our rejected material ... we will soon have some of their trusted lieutenants before the elections,” he said.
But the influx from Lalu’s party has caused resentment in a section of the JD(U).
Some leaders cautioned that the JD(U) leadership should not neglect it workers following the induction of ‘rank outsiders’ before the elections.
“Now the party is eyeing inducting former union minister Akhilesh Prasad Singh, who is peeved at his position after being ignored by the RJD chief in the course of the seat-sharing deal with LJP recently in New Delhi,” a JD(U) insider said pleading anonymity.
The Congress is also not far behind in the poaching game. It is also trying to bring Akhilesh Prasad Singh into its fold.
It has also apparently succeeded in convincing JD(U) rebel Rajiv Ranjan Singh ‘Lalan’ to join.
Some former RJD MPs, including Anil Yadav and Rampreet Paswan had yesterday joined the Congress.