Friend-turned-foes at Nitish’s mercy
Now that the Assembly polls are over, NDA circles are speculating the next move of former friends-turned-bitter foes of Nitish Kumar - JD (U) MP Lallan Singh and former MP Prabhunath Singh. Both of them seem to be stunned by the outcome. Prabhunath Singh mumbled that the results were “ascharyajanak (amazing)” but Lallan Singh, who initiated the anti-Nitish desertion from the JD (U) and campaigned for the Congress, appears to have gone into hiding. It has been widely rumoured that the two may rejoin their “old friend” Nitish. owever, the JD (U) leaders appear to be in no mood to welcome back the two dissidents. “The two did not fight a political battle against Nitish. They fought a personal battle against the chief minister and their speeches were full of personal taunts. Even on the day TV channels aired exit polls, Lallan Singh said that the predictions would fail after November 24,” remarked a JD (U) MP. However, the final call will be taken by Nitish, he declared.
Adding insult to injury
Nothing succeeds like success and nothing fails like failure. After the Assembly polls debacle, people who were once considered sycophants of RJD chief Lalu Prasad, are openly criticising the man who they once declared “God”. Leaders like Ranjan Prasad Yadav, Sadhu Yadav and Akhilesh Singh are calling Lalu arrogant, stupid and corrupt. Even former chief minister of Madhya Pradesh Digvijay Singh, who had once praised Lalu Prasad for being the “man of the masses”, has put the Congress defeat blame on Lalu. “It’s shocking. The leaders who used to touch the feet of Laluji are making all sorts of allegations against him. Perhaps now Laluji would realise the difference between a follower and a sycophant,” remarked another senior leader.
Right move, wrong time
When senior RJD leader Abdul Bari Siddiqui was declared the leader of the party in the Assembly and former chief minister Rabri Devi expressed confidence in his ability to handle the responsibility, few leaders could not miss the irony. “Immediately after the disastrous show in 2009 Lok Sabha polls, senior party leaders had wanted Rabri Devi to step down and give way to either Siddiqui or the then deputy leader Shakeel Ahmed Khan as Leader of the Opposition. But at that time, Laluji virtually bulldozed the MLAs and leaders who made the suggestion into silence. Had Laluji accepted the proposal, perhaps our performance in the Assembly polls would not have been that bad,” remarked an RJD leader, recalling Rabri’s poor performance as Leader of the Opposition when she skipped House proceedings for days.
The Secretariat, which usually wears a deserted look on weekends, was buzzing with activities on Saturday. Senior government officials sat till late evening to finish their work. A few of them were even willing to miss their Sunday off and come to office again. “But the ‘Boss’ (Nitish Kumar) asked us to take a break on Sunday and report early on Monday,” said a senior official. This time the “Boss” is in a more commanding position and the officials know it. Many of them are, in fact, waiting for posting to show their loyalty.