Bihar elections is less than 10 days away and the situation is seemingly becoming more difficult for Chief Minister Nitish Kumar, whose Janata Dal (United) is at the firing point of its former ally, the Lok Janshakti Party (LJP) headed by Chirag Paswan.
The LJ(P) is fighting the elections alone this time, in strong opposition to the JD(U), but the party chief has been insisting on cordial relations with the BJP. Chirag’s battle is against Nitish Kumar, as has been certain from his speeches and statements.
But this friend-turned-foe is only the secondary headache for the chief minister for whom the real threat remains the Tejashwi Yadav-led Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD), once helmed by the veteran Lalu Prasad Yadav, a former chief minister and also ex-Union minister. To add to Nitish’s worries, Tejashwi on Monday (October 19) hit the right chord in support of the young LJP chief who has recently lost his father and Union minister, Ram Vilas Paswan.
“What Nitish Kumar Ji did with Chirag Paswan was not good. Chirag Paswan needs his father at this time more than ever before but Ram Vilas Paswan is not among us and we are sad about it. The way Nitish Kumar behaved…did injustice to Chirag Paswan,” NDTV quoted the young Yadav as telling reporters.
Days earlier, Chirag had told the news channel in an interview that he was hurt by the chief minister’s stance after Paswan Senior passed away. He had claimed that CM Kumar had not expressed condolences to either him or his mother, and rather snubbed him. He said that though Kumar had paid tribute to his father’s body at the airport, the CM had ignored him. This despite that he touched his feet, the LJP chief had claimed.
With Lalu and Paswan Senior being old associates with close links with Nitish Kumar during the days of the socialist movement, the RJD chief’s statement is being seen as a strategy. Following Paswan Senior’s death on October 8, Lalu had expressed grief while the former RJD head’s wife Rabri Devi had said that their family was in mourning.
According to NDTV, Tejashwi and Chirag, both having CM Kumar as their enemies, have allegedly struck an understanding in the Raghopur constituency. Tejashwi represents the segment in the Bihar assembly. Quoting sources, the report said that LJP has strategically fielded a Rajput candidate from that seat so that he eats into the JD(U)’s upper caste vote bank, thus helping the RJD chief. Tejashwi is facing the BJP’s Satish Kumar who had earlier defeated his mother Rabri Devi in 2010 while fighting from the JD(U) camp. However, he had lost to the RJD leader in the 2015 election. If Chirag’s alleged strategy works, the RJD leader will sail through without much competition.
The elections to the 243-member Bihar assembly will be held in three phases – October 28, November 3 and 7 – and the results will be declared on November 10.