Lalu’s RJD alone is keen on tying its fortunes with the party
In the aftermath of its wipeout in the recent round of Assembly elections in the heartland, the Congress is finding it hard to get pre-Lok Sabha poll allies. But one party that remains keen to tie its fortunes with the Congress is Lalu Prasad Yadav’s Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) in Bihar. It believes that with the JD-U’s fortunes sinking after its split with the BJP, an arrangement with the Congress would consolidate its Muslim vote, RJD sources said, especially as in recent months its own campaign has been getting a positive response.
On Friday, Mr. Yadav — out on bail in the fodder scam case — was in the national capital to meet Congress leaders. He told journalists — shortly before he was rushed to AIIMS after complaining of uneasiness — that he was interested in exploring an electoral understanding with the Congress. “We were always in favour of an alliance with Congress,” he said.
Mr. Yadav hopes to be able to replicate the results of 2004 when the RJD-Congress-Lok Jan Shakti Party alliance won the lion’s share of seats in the State.
The RJD’s enthusiasm to ally itself with the Congress comes days after DMK supremo M. Karunanidhi declared that his party would have no truck with it as it had always ignored it and not respected it. The Congress was quick to say that it had never been ungrateful to any ally, with party spokesperson Bhakta Charan Das telling journalists on Monday, “We are not ungrateful to anybody....happenings and incidents are guided by situations...there is no personal prejudice with any party or any individual.”
For the Congress, the DMK’s decision not to share seats with it in Tamil Nadu comes as a blow, party sources said, as it was hoping to renew a relationship that had snapped in March this year, when the DMK pulled out of the UPA on the issue of Sri Lankan Tamils. Now it is looking at Vijayakanth’s DMDK for a seat-sharing arrangement, Congress sources said.
Meanwhile, another ex-UPA ally, the Trinamool Congress, has made it clear it will not come to an arrangement in West Bengal. A Trinamool leader explained: “The Left has not yet recovered in Bengal, so we don’t have to bother about it. Now we need to occupy the space the Congress has. So why we should ally with the Congress?”
In Jharkhand, the Jharkhand Mukti Morcha is ruling the State with support from the Congress and the RJD: this arrangement is expected to continue for the Lok Sabha polls as well, just as the Congress-Nationalist Congress Party alliance in Maharashtra and the Congress-National Conference tie-up remain intact.
A possible tie-up with the BSP has been ruled out. BSP general secretary Satish Mishra said there was no possibility of such an arrangement as his party did not wish to ally with the Congress, whose fortunes were down.
The only other key State where the possibility of an alliance exists is Andhra Pradesh, but that remains contingent on creation of Telangana: if the new State becomes a reality, the Congress could have a tie-up with the Telangana Rashtra Samiti (TRS). Of course, the party remains wary of TRS leader K. Chandrashekhar Rao, but the ground reality is that he is seen as the face of the Telangana agitation.