Will Tejashwi Yadav do a Dushyant Chautala in Bihar?

Tejashwi Yadav. File   | Photo Credit: Sushil Kumar Verma

The Assembly elections in Bihar are barely months away but it is still not clear whether they will take place on time or be deferred, as most parties — both from the ruling and the Opposition camps — have demanded recently in view of the raging COVID-19 cases but what is certain is that some new calculations are set to transform the electoral landscape.

Also read: Tejashwi Yadav continues attack on ‘missing’ Nitish Kumar

What has set the political scene afire is the speculation in the political corridor: will Tejashwi Yadav, Leader of the Opposition in the Assembly, do a Dushyant Chautala in Bihar for the BJP? Mr. Yadav is the heir apparent of imprisoned Rashtriya Janata Dal chief Lalu Prasad Yadav and MLA from Raghopur constituency in Vaishali district. The probabality has overshadowed the likely political churn the talks between the ruling NDA constituent Lok Janshakti Party and the Opposition mahagathbandhan ally Hindustani Awam Morcha (Secular) has created.

Like Mr. Chautala of the Jannayak Janata Party in Haryana, Mr. Yadav too is young (both are in their 30s) and his father Lalu Prasad has been in jail in a corruption case for a long time. In January 2013, Mr. Chautala’s father Ajay Singh Chautala was sentenced to 10-years imprisonment under the Prevention of Corruption Act in a case of illegal recruitment of over 3,000 teachers.

Political U-turn

Both the Yadav and Chautala families have been out of power for a long time until Mr. Chautala took a political U-turn to shake hands with the BJP in October 2019 to come to power in Haryana as Deputy Chief Minister. “Why not RJD leader Tejashwi Yadav too could do this?” asked political analyst Ajay Kumar. “By doing so, he could come to power again and also pave way for his imprisoned father’s relief like senior Chautala,” he said.

But what about the BJP?

Many in the political circles ask “why not?”. “For how long would they carry the baggage of Nitish Kumar as CM face and be the big brother of alliance?” one of them asked, preferring anonymity. “By dumping Nitish Kumar and joining hands with Tejashwi Yadav, the BJP, for the first time in the State, would get a chance to have its own Chief Minister,” he said. “Hadn’t Nitish Kumar joined hands with the RJD in 2013 to continue as CM and then took a U-turn to rejoin the BJP in 2017 — again to continue as the Chief Minister? So, what’s wrong if the BJP joins hands with Tejashwi Yadav to have its own CM for the first time?”

Also read: Tejashwi Yadav’s apology for ‘mistakes’ of RJD regime fails to impress Bihar’s ruling NDA

The BJP may have a problem in embracing Mr. Lalu Prasad but can shake hands with the younger Yadav for power — and both, I think, would need it, said a senior journalist.

Besides, there is also the anti-incumbency factor against the Nitish Kumar-led government, he said. “Mr. Kumar, of late, has been under attack in media for his ‘delayed actions’ in tackling the mass migration of workers and the pandemic.”

It has also been observed that it’s the JD(U) which has been more combative against the RJD than the BJP.

Other than senior State BJP leader and Deputy CM Sushil Kumar Modi, no leader has been attacking the RJD. Mr. Modi is considered close to Mr. Kumar.

Also read: RJD will implement domicile policy in Bihar, says Tejashwi

Postponement of polls will benefit BJP

On the postponement of the elections, the BJP has not come out in support of the JD(U) which has been demanding the polls on time. “Only the Election Commission can take a call on when the poll should take place,” said the BJP leaders. “Postponement will eventually help the BJP in holding the election under President’s rule,” said a senior RJD leader.

On the other hand, Mr. Yadav has of late been assuring party leaders and workers that Mr. Lalu Prasad would come out of the jail in October-November and the RJD is going to be in power. He has also been sending the message across that the RJD would like to come out of its M-Y (Muslim-Yadav) votebank bracket to seek the support of the upper castes as well.

The upper castes traditionally are the supporters of the BJP. However, State RJD president these days is Jagdanand Singh, a Rajput leader with clean image. “Politics has always been the game of possibilities and no political party would like to be out of power for long,” said Mr. Ajay Kumar.

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Printable version | Sep 23, 2021 8:40:46 PM |

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