There are indications that Lalu Prasad Yadav, who got bail in April after serving two and a half years in jail in the fodder scam case, is returning to Patna soon. In 1997 Lalu Prasad Yadav founded the Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) after breaking ties with Janata Dal and his party is going to complete 25 years shortly.
RJD has decided to celebrate the party foundation day at state, district and block levels across Bihar. Reports indicate that Lalu Prasad Yadav is likely to address a meeting of the party workers in Patna on the foundation day. However, more than his address to the party workers, all are eager to know his political moves, which could turn Bihar politics on its head.
As a seasoned politician Lalu Yadav knows Jitan Ram Manjhi’s Hindustani Awam Morcha and Mukesh Sahani’s Vikassheel Insaan Party are the weak links in the ruling National Democratic Alliance government. Both the parties have four MLAs each in the Assembly and if they switch sides Bihar may see a major political upheaval.
Recently Lalu Yadav spoke to both these leaders which fuelled the speculations of a big political change in the state.
Significantly, Lalu Yadav is recovering at his daughter Misa Bharti’s Delhi residence. Sources reveal that he was actually planning the change of power in Bihar from Delhi itself. The NDA leaders have rejected the news of a split in its camp after the conversation of Lalu Yadav with Manjhi and Sahani came to light. However, the kind of reactions coming from the ruling camp regarding Lalu’s return to Patna, it can be easily guessed that how big a game Lalu can play.
Why did BJP MPs start threatening?
Former Bihar Chief Minister and BJP MP Sushil Kumar Modi said that RJD leader Lalu Prasad Yadav’s visit to Patna will have no impact on politics, but that the impression is being created that they will come to power by releasing a genie. He said that Lalu was released on bail because of his health, not because of politics. The BJP MP also stated that the CBI should investigate whether Lalu Yadav is engaged in political activities while in prison.
Reason for the sharp reaction of JDU leaders
Earlier, JDU’s Upendra Kushwaha declared that no one has the authority to overthrow Nitish Kumar’s administration for the next five years, despite Tejashwi Yadav’s claim that the Nitish government will fall in two to three months. Similarly, the National President of JDU had said that Tejashwi Yadav wants to eat mangoes when there is no season. His goal would not be fulfilled because mangoes ripen only in its season. The election is over, the government has been formed, and they must now prepare for the next election in 2025.
Lalu Yadav’s eyes on Bihar power politics
In terms of numbers, the ruling National Democratic Alliance has a razor-thin majority in the Assembly. In the 243-member assembly, the NDA has the support of 127 MLAs, while the Grand Alliance has the backing of 110 MLAs. That’s only 12 seats short of the 122 needed for a majority. In such a setting, predictions are abound that if Lalu returns to Patna, something would undoubtedly happen.
The seat equation
If the 4 seats each of Manjhi and Sahani are united with the total 110 seats of the RJD, Congress and Left parties, the strength of the Mahagathbandhan in the assembly will reach 118. The Grand Alliance may also get the backing of 5 MLAs from Asaduddin Owaisi’s party to reach the halfway mark of 122 seats. In this scenario, their total strength will be 123, one more than the majority. According to political commentators, this is the reason behind the ongoing power struggle between the NDA and the Grand Alliance.