Tejashwi Yadav could be down but not out. The Bihar RJD leader, after giving some anxious moments to CM Nitish Kumar in the Assembly polls in November last year, has set his sights on Assam which goes to the polls in March-April.
Speculation is rife in Assam that the RJD leader could be toying with the idea of forming yet another ‘mahagathbandhan’ (grand alliance) for the 126-member Assembly polls. On Friday (February 26) Tejashwi met Assam Congress chief Ripun Bora. An RJD-Congress-AIUDF alliance could pose a tough challenge for the ruling BJP.
On the national level, the Congress has an alliance with the RJD and has always maintained good ties with it since the days of Lalu Prasad, father of Tejashwi. Congress sources say there is a huge Bhojpuri vote bank in certain pockets of Assam, where Tejashwi could be a star campaigner. These voters have largely supported the BJP.
Tejashwi has good equations with Bodoland Peoples’ Front (BPF), the BJP’s ex-ally. In the last Bodoland polls held last year, the BJP had parted ways with the BPF and formed a post-poll alliance with the United People’s Party Liberal, throwing Hagrama Mohilary out of power from the Bodoland Territorial Council.
The RJD leader is due to meet Badruddin Ajmal of the All India United Democratic Front. The objective, sources said, was to talk to all the anti-CAA (Citizenship Amendment Act) parties. The law had triggered a massive furore in Assam, where large sections of parties felt that the new law could legitimize illegal immigration in the state.
There are reports that RJD’s arch rival in Bihar, the JD-U, may also fight the Assam polls. The chances are that the party would go it alone.
As per the Assam poll schedule announced by the Election Commission on Friday (February 26), of the 126 seats, 47 will go to polls on March 27 in the first phase, 39 on April 1, and 40 on April 6. The counting will take place on May 2.