Patna: RJD chief Lalu Prasad Yadav may play the role of ambassador to smooth the ruffled feathers of Congress allies within the INDIA bloc following the Grand Old Party’s losses in the three states that went to the polls last month.
The parties have been unhappy with the attitude of the Congress in the recently held five state Assembly elections. Leaders like Samajwadi Party chief Akhilesh Yadav, Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar, West Bengal CM Mamata Benerjee and Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal have been miffed. Even Shiv Sena Uddhav Thackeray group is also not pleased with the approach of Congress as it went against the alliance norms and preferred solo fight.
The result of Assembly elections in three Hindi heartland states –Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Rajasthan — has put every alliance partner of INDIA on back foot. Hence many leaders have started positioning their regional strengths while some of them like Bihar CM Nitish Kumar are now applying more pressure on the Congress party for a huge bargain.
The JD(U) sources have said that Nitish Kumar will do a rally in Varanasi, the Lok Sabha constituency of PM Narendra Modi as well.
Keeping in view of all these circumstances, Congress may ask Lalu Prasad to coordinate with the bloc partners to give a tough challenge to BJP in the 2024 Lok Sabha polls.
Lalu Prasad has close relationships with Bihar CM Nitish Kumar, West Bengal CM Mamata Banerjee, Jharkhand CM Hemant Soren, Tamil Nadu CM M.K. Stalin and Akhilesh Yadav. Hence, the Congress may use his experience to narrow down the gap that has crept up after the loss in three states.
The biggest challenge for Lalu Prasad is to negotiate with Bihar CM Nitish Kumar. After the result of three states, JD(U), Trinamool Congress and Samajwadi Party leaders targeted Congress. Even the December 6 meeting of INDIA in New Delhi was also postponed.
Nitish Kumar has a regional council meeting with Union Home Minister Amit Shah in Patna on Sunday. The political leaders are also looking forward to this meeting as Nitish Kumar will face Amit Shah almost after 18 months. The JD(U) leaders are claiming that this is a government meeting where the representatives of West Bengal, Odisha and Jharkhand will also be present and it has nothing to do with politics. The RJD leaders are also not commenting on it.
“Lalu Prasad Yadav is a veteran leader and everyone has faith in him. He has good relations with the leaders of all alliance partners of INDIA. He never compromised with BJP at any stage of his political career which makes him a faithful friend to the Congress party but a foe to their common political enemy BJP,” said Mritunjay Tiwari, RJD leader and spokesperson.
The biggest challenge for the leaders of INDIA is to make coordination between the leaders of opposition political parties of North and East zone of the country. States like Bihar, West Bengal, Uttar Pradesh, Punjab, Delhi and Jammu & Kashmir are crucial for the Congress party as the regional parties are more influential there than it. The relief for the Congress party is in the south and northeast region where the BJP is not in the race.
“We always say that the imagination of opposition unity cannot be possible without the Congress party. Our leader Nitish Kumar has said that he will go to the next meeting of INDIA and our stand is clear to contest the Lok Sabha election on the basis of one seat one candidate formula to defeat BJP. The saffron party is not in the race in southern and northeastern states and if we make good strategies in Hindi belt, West Bengal, Odisha, Punjab and Jammu & Kashmir, BJP can be defeated,” said Neeraj Kumar, JD(U) MLC and chief spokesperson of the party.