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Lalu unity show with party polls

Patna, Jan. 2: The surging crowd at Lalu Prasad’s Parivartan Yatra has not only brought smiles back to the RJD leader but also made him more methodical than any other party in the state to conduct organisational elections.

This seems to be the high time for Lalu to bury the past and move ahead as a united force in the general elections next year. The beleaguered party of “embattled” Lalu also gave a sense of unity with its incumbent state chief, Ram Chandra Purbey, becoming the lone candidate to file his nomination papers for the same post again on the last day. “His (Purbey’s) election as the state party chief is now a mere formality. There is no one else other than him in the fray. The result will be announced at the party’s state council meeting on January 6,” the RJD general secretary and chief spokesman, Vijay Krishna, said.

The election of Purbey, also a prominent OBC face who was as cabinet colleague to both Lalu and Rabri Devi through the party’s 15-year rule, reflects the RJD chief’s strategy to keep his outfit identified with the backward classes. Against his rival parties — the BJP and JD(U) — which have upper caste persons as their state party presidents, the RJD has got an OBC re-elected for the next three years as its president.

However, in conformity to Lalu’s announcement that youths would be encouraged in the party’s organizational set up, Krishna said: “The party has taken care of a large number of youths this time. Fresh and energetic young faces have flooded right from the block to district and state-level structure.”

Party sources said that Lalu had “instructed” Purbey to make his team with the “right blend” of upper castes, Muslims, extremely backward castes and Kushwahas, an OBC, which was perceived to be getting “disenchanted” with chief minister Nitish Kumar. The Kushwaha leader and JD(U) Rajya Sabha MP, Upendra Kushwaha, has already raised a banner of revolt against the JD(U) leadership.

The RJD sources also revealed that the crowd swelling at Parivartan Yatra rallies, of late, have increased his grip over his cadres, enabling him to get the organizational polls conducted in a smoother fashion. Earlier, senior party MP Raghuvansh Prasad Singh openly expressed “displeasure” against Lalu for “neglecting” the party.