Patna,(BiharTimes): With Nitish Kumar and Congress busy playing their game the main opposition party in Bihar, Rashtriya Janata Dal, appears to be caught in a bind. Similarly, another constituent of the NDA, BJP, is just keeping a close watch on the whole development.
The big question doing the rounds in the RJD circle is what should it do if Janata Dal (United) and Congress really join hands and Bihar get special category status or even special package.
Only the other day RJD chief Lalu Yadav came down heavily on Nitish Kumar and alleged that he is befooling the people on the issue of special category status. But he did not say anything against the Congress for obvious reasons. He denied that the Congress has made any promise of granting special category status to Bihar as is being reported by a section of the media.
Lalu knows that Congress has no base left in Bihar and that the collapse of NDA in the state may affect Nitish Kumar as Sonia Gandhi’s party can not compensate for the loss of the BJP, which is no doubt strong, and enjoys substantial support of Upper Castes and Banias.
But RJD chief knows the importance of Congress in Delhi, especially if it is again voted back to power. If Congress-JD(U) alliance clicks Nitish may, in that case, do everything to get Lalu further weakened. After all Lalu is still fighting several court cases in the infamous animal husbandary scam.
So RJD is trying its level best to keep Congress in good humour. It took some sigh of relief after Congress spokesman, Rashid Alvi, rejected any possibility of political realignment to be the reason behind the Centre working on special economic package for backward states, including Bihar.
Not only that two days back the party’s general secretary, Digvijay Singh, said he would personally opt for Lalu Prasad Yadav instead of Nitish Kumar as he is more “dependable ally”.
So both Nitish and Congress are keeping everyone guessing and the BJP away from the special category status debate.
Though NitishKumar organized big rallies in Patna and Delhi yet it is very difficult and pre-mature to assess the mood of the voters a year ahead of the Lok Sabha election. Whether the special category status would really become an election issue a year from now or people would vote on some other line, can not be said now.
However, one thing needs to be kept in mind: most of the middle-class intelletucals and common citizens supporting the special category status for Bihar are the voters of BJP and less of Janata Dal (United), which still rely heavily on Extreme Backward Castes and Mahadalit votes.
So it remains to be seen how much Janata Dal (United) or say Nitish really succeeds without BJP and with the Congress and slogan of special category status.
The problem with RJD and even to some extent the BJP is that it is getting very little media attention in the whole debate of special category status. True RJD may have become somewhat less relevant, but ignoring or underplaying the strength of BJP may prove counterproductive.