BJP stays away from ally RLSP's human chain programme in Bihar
Patna, Jan 30 (IANS) Fissures within the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) in Bihar surfaced on Tuesday when the BJP, JD-U and the LJP chose to stay away from a human chain programme of another NDA ally, Rashtriya Lok Samta Party (RLSP), to highlight the issue of educational reforms in the state.
Surprisingly though, support for the human chain by Union Minister Upendra Kushwaha's RLSP came from an unexpected quarter -- Lalu Prasad's Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) -- and several senior RJD leaders also took part in it.
Earlier, Kushwaha had appealed to all parties to participate in the human chain programme held across Bihar.
Thousands of people, apart from the leaders and workers of the RLSP and supporters of Kushwaha, participated in the human chain in 7,280 schools across the state to create awareness among the people for quality education and also for strengthening the education system.
Senior RJD leader Shivanand Tiwari, considered close to RJD chief Lalu Prasad, and state RJD president Ram Chandra Purve shared the stage with Kushwaha during the human chain here.
Leader of Opposition in state assembly Tejashwi Yadav, the younger son of Lalu Prasad, also extended support to Kushwaha's human chain programme by posting a tweet on Tuesday.
But, none of the NDA leaders including the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), Janata Dal-United (JD-U) and Lok Janshakti Party participated in the programme, thereby sending out a message that all was not hunky-dory the NDA in Bihar.
Besides, the sequence of events leading to the human chain programme further strengthened the speculation that Kushwahaa is likely to jump on to the RJD bandwagon by dumping the NDA ahead of the next parliamentary polls in 2019.
Earlier, on January 21, Kushwaha had participated in a human chain programme of JD-U chief and Chief Minister Nitish Kumar in Patna, organised to raise awareness against child marriage and dowry across Bihar.
Senior BJP leader and state Minister Prem Kumar attacked Kusahwaha for going against the "gathbandhan dharma" by organising a human chain without consulting the NDA. "Kushwaha is a part of the NDA but he has been violating 'gathbandhan dharma'."
JD-U spokesperson Ajay Alok said his party would not stand together with the RJD at any place. "If RJD has participated in Kushwaha's human chan, how could JD-U join it? This is not possible."
This development, according to political circles here, is likely to trigger a fresh debate over new political realignments in Bihar. Only two days ago senior RJD leader and former Union Minister Raghuvansh Prasad Singh had claimed that some senior leaders of the ruling NDA in Bihar, including RLSP leader and Union Minister Upendra Kushwaha and former Chief Minister and chief of Hindustani Awam Morcha Jitan Ram Manjhi.
Kushwaha, a soft-spoken politician, has repeatedly expressed his sympathy for Lalu Prasad and his family in the last one month.
Kushwaha, who belongs to the powerful OBC Koeri caste -- the largest social group after Lalu Prasad's Yadav caste in Bihar, is reportedly not comfortable with the BJP and Nitish Kumar.
Senior RJD leaders say that Lalu Prasad has no problem in projecting Upendra Kushwaha as the chief ministerial candidate in the 2020 Bihar Assembly polls after the two parties join hands.
However, they insist the RLSP chief would have to walk out of the NDA to contest the next Lok Sabha polls with the RJD. "Lalu Prasad and Upendra Kushwaha have held discussion on this issue," an RJD leader said.