As the Jharkhand Mukti Morcha-led alliance comprising the Congress and the Rashtriya Janata Dal is all set to form the next government in Jharkhand, with JMM leader Hemant Soren as Chief Minister, the win is a boost for Bihar’s principal Opposition party RJD for more than one reason.
For the last two years RJD chief Lalu Prasad is imprisoned in Ranchi’s Birsa Munda Central jail in connection with fodder scam cases, though, presently, he is undergoing medical treatment in a government hospital in the city.
In the hospital he has been allowed to meet family members and friends only once in a week on Saturday, and that too not more than three persons. More than once he had requested the BJP government there to shift him to some private hospital in Delhi or Mumbai for better treatment but he was not allowed to. Now, being an alliance partner in the new government, Mr. Prasad could hope to get better medical treatment in some other hospital and be allowed to meet more persons.
“Yes, we do hope that our ailing party chief could get the best medical facility now wherever he wants...the BJP government there till now, has been vengeful”, said a senior party leader on condition of anonymity. Both of Lalu Prasad’s sons Tej Pratap and Tejashwi Yadav congratulated Mr. Soren on Monday.
Before the poll, Mr Soren had sought Mr. Prasad’s blessings and met him at the Rajendra Institute of Medical Sciences (RIMS) for seat adjustments too. Party leader and Mr. Prasad’s younger son Tejashwi, though, wanted to contest in eight seats but it was Mr. Prasad who not only had struck a compromise but convinced his son to settle for seven seats under the alliance to consolidate anti-BJP votes.
Mr. Tejashwi, who is also Leader of the Opposition in the Bihar Assembly, had campaigned hard in Jharkhand and was confident since the beginning that the alliance government would come to power. “The same result will be repeated in the Bihar Assembly election too, due in October-November 2020”, said party leader and MLA Shakti Yadav.
“It was our party supremo’s timely intervention which had saved the alliance in Jharkhand and now the result is for everyone to see...it has come as a boost for us”, added the party MLA. Under the alliance, out of 81 seats, the JMM contested in 43 and the Congress in 31 seats.
The other reason for the RJD to feel good about the Jharkhand poll result is that Chief Minister Nitish Kumar-led JD(U) could not win even a single seat, despite contesting in 40 seats all by itself, to secure a national status for it. The JD(U) is a ruling alliance partner of the BJP in Bihar. Though, party president and CM Nitish had not gone to campaign in Jharkhand, over a dozen senior party leaders were actively involved in electioneering.
In the 2014 Assembly election too JD(U) had failed to open its account in Jharkhand. However, party sources told The Hindu, “Nitish Kumar might be happy over the Jharkhand result as it would help him to bargain for more seats with the BJP in the Bihar Assembly election.”