Will Republic expose divide or unite Grand Alliance in Bihar?
Patna,(BiharTimes): Is it is a case of “kahin pe nigahein kahin pe nishana?” If the Janata Dal (United) sources are to be believed the apparent target of the joint efforts of BJP-Republic TV combine may be RJD chief Lalu Prasad and his family members, but the ultimate goal is to weaken the endeavour being made by chief minister Nitish Kumar to forge a non-BJP alliance at the national level. JD(U) general secretary K C Tyagi came out with this argument hours after the Republic TV aired the alleged telephonic conversation between don-cum-politician Shahabuddin and RJD chief Lalu Prasad on May 6
That is the one reason that notwithstanding some anti-RJD grumblings the JD(U) came out strongly against the Republic TV ‘expose’. While dismissing the BJP and Republic TV charge that Bihar is being ruled from behind bars by a mafia the JD(U) asserted that the Siwan SP had not been transferred since April 15, 2016––the day of the alleged telephonic conversation.
This counter-argument by the JD(U), to some extent, cancels out the impact the channel tried to create. On its part RJD spokesman, Manoj Jha, charged that the tapes are doctored and that his party is ready
for investigation by any agency. Independent political observers agree that there is nothing new in the BJP or Republic TV charges. All the land deals were made––and gifts were received––several years back. Even the alleged telephonic talk was a year old. Besides, everybody is aware of the proximity between RJD leaders and Shahabuddin. Senior party leader and relatively sobre voice like Jagdananad Singh on Saturday itself said that his party would not remove Shahabuddin from its national executive.
“It is only the re-packaging of the same old stories by the BJP and Republic TV,” commented a Bihar-watcher wishing anonymity. The target is RJD chief simply because of his past record. Besides, his casual approach often lands him in trouble. It is not that Nitish Kumar––or any other politician––is immaculate. But the BJP does not want to directly target him as he is not so casual in approach and too much image conscious. Apart from that he is revengeful, he added.
True a strong and powerful BJP would never like to befriend Nitish–– as it did in the past when it was not so strong nationally––yet the saffron party wants to keep one per cent chance open to revive the relationship any time in future. That can never be the case with Lalu.
An analyst told BiharTimes that Lalu had around 18-20 per cent votebank even in the worst case scenario, which is not the case with Nitish Kumar’s JD(U). RJD has 80 MLAs against 71 of JD(U) and 27 of the Congress.
The BJP’s strategy is to create mistrust and misunderstanding in at least a section of disgruntled elements in both the parties. Leaders like Bhai Birendra and Raghuvansh Prasad Singh in RJD and Sanjay Singh in JD(U) are always ready to get locked in wordy duel. So just after the Republic TV expose Bhai Birendra suspected the involvement of JD(U) in the leaking of the tape to the channel.
But some media pundits are of the view that the Republic TV ‘overkill’ has weakened the ‘expose’. “A 12 month old tape does not deserve more than 12 hours long discussion. Besides, equating RJD with ISI and worse than enemy Pakistan––as uttered in the day-long panel discussions expose the Republic TV’s own credential. A channel can be pro-ruling party, but one does not expect it to speak its language. Politically, the expose may lose its purpose. Rather it forced the JD(U) and RJD leaders to close their ranks,” commented an analyst.
Some sceptics are of the view that Nitish and his men are, to some extent, thankful to Sushil Modi and the media as their quota of charges are keeping Lalu Prasad checked and letting him rule the state somewhat freely.