Yeh dosti! Lalu and Nitish Kumar turn to each other to save themselves.

Yeh dosti! Lalu and Nitish Kumar turn to each other to save themselves.

Lalu, Nitish turn to each other to save themselves from Modi in Bihar

Lalu’s RJD, Nitish’s JD-U likely to merge ahead of assembly polls

Prashun Bhaumik | Patna/ New Delhi | 17 November, 2014 | 07:50 PM

The development comes nearly four months after Lalu Prasad and Nitish Kumar joined hands in Bihar and 10 days after leaders of the Samajwadi Party, the JD-U, the RJD and the Janata Dal-Secular announced a united front to counter the Narendra Modi government.

Former Bihar chief minister Lalu Prasad’s Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) and the ruling Janata Dal-United (JD-U) are likely to merge ahead of assembly elections next year.
Chief Minister Jitan Ram Manjhi Monday said that if the two parties became one, it will emerge as a powerful political force. “The merger of the RJD and JD-U will benefit both in the next assembly polls,” Manjhi told the media here.

The idea was first suggested by Bihar Transport Minister Ramai Ram, who said a united party would defeat the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in the next assembly polls. “Instead of a grand alliance, both parties should merge.”

Ram has the support of some RJD leaders including legislator Bhai Virendra.

A RJD leader close to Lalu Prasad added that the RJD chief and JD-U leaders Sharad Yadav and Nitish Kumar had agreed in principle to merge the two parties to take on the BJP.

The development comes nearly four months after Lalu Prasad and Nitish Kumar joined hands in Bihar and 10 days after leaders of the Samajwadi Party, the JD-U, the RJD and the Janata Dal-Secular announced a united front to counter the Narendra Modi government.

The JD-U ended a 17-year alliance with the BJP last year after Modi was declared the prime ministerial candidate of the BJP.
“After results of Haryana and Maharashtra assembly polls, Lalu Prasad and JD-U president Sharad Yadav and former chief minister Nitish Kumar have agreed in principle to merge the two parties to take on the BJP,” a RJD leader close to Lalu Prasad said Monday.

A JD-U leader said: “Merger of the RJD and the JD-U is on cards to strengthen secular forces…” He said none other than Nitish Kumar himself said that “we resolved to work together and in the near future there is a strong possibility we might merge and form one party”.

But according to the JD-U and the RJD leaders here, if both parties contest next state assembly polls as an alliance, there will be serious problem of seat sharing.

The JD-U, which has 118 legislators in the house, will bargain for more seats and the RJD, which has 23 legislators, will put its claim for more seats on the basis of its performance in the last Lok Sabha polls.

In August, Lalu Prasad and Nitish Kumar jointly campaigned during the by-elections in Bihar. The JD-U, the RJD and the Congress won six of the 10 assembly seats.

That was the first time the two leaders came together after a gap of 20 years. It was in the 1991 Lok Sabha polls that Lalu Prasad and Nitish Kumar last campaigned together.

Lalu Prasad then said he and Nitish Kumar wanted to send a strong message across the country to unite non-BJP forces.

Nitish Kumar, who quit as Bihar’s chief minister in May after his party was routed in the general elections, has been repeatedly targeting Modi. He said Modi has failed to bring back black money stashed abroad by Indians within 100 days of taking power.

In a bid to expose Modi’s double speak, Nitish Kumar said: “Modi had promised to bring back black money after being elected to power. But he has failed to do that even after 150 days.”
Meanwhile, the Bengal CM and Trinamool leader Mamata Banerjee in Delhi declared that the BJP would lose future elections if regional parties came together.

“The Congress committed mistakes because of which they were voted out of power. The BJP is ruling India with only 29 percent votes. They won because regional parties didn’t fight unitedly. If regional forces come together, the BJP will lose,” she said.

Banerjee also alleged that the Bharatiya Janata Party was “trying to incite communal violence”.

Quizzed on leading an anti-communal front, Banerjee stressed there were others for the job but the alliance should be based on ideology. “I am a small fry. I am a commoner. There are big people who can be leaders of a Federal Front. I support the idea of an anti-communal front. But there must be ideological alliance,” she said. (IANS)