As the 2019 Lok Sabha elections nears , alliances will hold the key. In a new twist to the Bihar’s political drama, the Nitish Kumar-led Janata Dal (United) has formally thanked Congress president Rahul Gandhi for his ‘Measured and Balanced’ speech at Jantar Mantar in New Delhi. The very venue where the opposition was protesting against the Bihar government with regards to the Muzaffarpur shelter home rape case.
The protest was also joined by Congress president Rahul Gandhi , who was quoted as saying, “If Nitish Kumar is really ashamed, he should quickly take action… Prove it by your work.”
Senior JD(U) leader KC Tyagi told the press that Rahul’s address was a “measured and balanced speech” and steered clear of personal attacks on Kumar. Tyagi added that the Bihar CM will take strict action against the perpetrators in the case and its “results will be there for everyone to see”.
This was the first time that the JD(U) reached out to the Congress since Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar withdrew from the Grand Alliance in July 2017 to join hands with the BJP and form the government.
The Grand Alliance in Bihar had consisted of the Congress, the JD(U) and Lalu Prasad Yadav’s Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD).
It may be re- called that jailed RJD supremo , Lalu Yadav’s son RJD leader Tejashwi Yadav, who is now the Leader of Opposition in Bihar, had initiated a mass protest at New Delhi’s Jantar Mantar to discredit Kumar’s government after 34 minors were reportedly raped in a state-owned shelter home in Muzaffarpur. During the protest, Yadav demanded the chief minister’s resignation.
Party sources told the news channel that Rahul avoided targeted comments at Kumar so as to send an unspoken message to him. It was also intended to indirectly rebuke Tejashwi Yadav, who skipped the Assembly session in which the issue was discussed, and was caught levelling baseless allegations.
This public show of gratitude, however, seems to have earned the ire of the BJP, the JD(U)’s ally in the state. Speculations are rife of a conflict in the alliance over seat sharing in the upcoming Lok Sabha election, because of which BJP supremo Amit Shah recently visited Patna.
For BJP it seems handling alliances in the run- up to 2019 is proving to be a big challenge.