Having failed to stop Janata Dal (United) leader Nitish Kumar from regaining power in Bihar, the BJP is now watching the moves of former Chief Minister Jitan Ram Manjhi in a bid to attract the Mahadalit vote.
Putting up a brave front in the wake of the surprising turn of events in Bihar, the party on Friday said that it backed Mr. Manjhi to express solidarity with a Mahadalit Chief Minister and expose Mr. Kumar’s “lust” for power.
“We could not have been a silent bystander to an alliance between the JD(U) and the RJD because we know that this coalition cannot provide good governance in the State. We had to take a stand,” said a BJP leader involved in Bihar politics.
Besides wanting to stop Mr. Kumar from regaining power in Bihar, for the BJP what is important is that the “janata parivar” is nowhere in sight and the Janata Dal (United) is not so united now.
Focusing on the “inner tussle” in the “janata parivar,” the BJP leaders on Friday emphasised the split in the JD (U) as well as the Rashtriya Janata Dal. The party is all set to tear into the “hypocrisy” of the JD(U)-RJD claim of good governance considering that in his first term Mr. Kumar, then in alliance with the BJP, had won campaigning against the ‘misrule’ and ‘corruption’ of RJD chief Lalu Prasad.
BJP sources said that till Friday morning benches had not been allotted to MLAs and nobody knew the “division number” for vote to be cast. “There was no preparation for voting. We were clear that in such a scenario we had to oppose the alliance of the JD(U) and the RJD. Even morally the popular vote for the JD(U)-BJP was against the RJD. In the second term, Mr. Kumar stepped down after the Lok Sabha election saying he had lost the people’s support and made Mr. Manjhi Chief Minister. Now he himself wanted to remove him,” the leader said trying to justify the BJP stand to back the Manjhi faction.
The party is clear that the events of the past few days have “exposed” Mr. Kumar and the JD(U)’s fragile alliance with the RJD and others. “Their coming together is like a bad dream for the people of Bihar,” another leader said.
The BJP does not feel that Mr. Manjhi’s resignation on the floor of the Assembly could have had a different effect than his resignation outside it. “Even now, he has sent a message,” the party said.
Besides the ill-treatment of a Mahadalit, the BJP intends to go into the polls on anti-incumbency factor for which, it says, Mr. Kumar is responsible as Mr. Manjhi has alleged that he was taking all decisions at the behest of his mentor. Either way the BJP’s target is Mr. Kumar and this animosity goes back to a personality war between Mr. Kumar and Narendra Modi.
Bihar political crisis