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NDA cadres anxious over allies’ trust deficit

Buxar, Jan. 6: The foot soldiers of the ruling alliance partners in the state are worried over the widening “trust deficit” between the two parties in the face of chief minister Nitish Kumar sticking to his demand for the declaration of a “secular face” as the NDA’s prime ministerial candidate ahead of the 2014 elections.

Ham saaf ho jayenge, Lalu bina kuchh kiye power mein aajayenge (We will be finished, Lalu will regain power without doing anything),” said the BJP state secretary, Kamaleshwar Singh, overseeing his party’s organisational election at Ara on January 4 when the RJD boss (Lalu Prasad) was addressing an impressive rally in the town.

Kamaleshwar alone did not express such a fear. The common perception of countless JD(U)-BJP cadres and their supporters on the 55km Ara-Buxar stretch — where Lalu Prasad conducted his parivartan yatra — was “ham saaf hojayengen”. They simply want their respective high commands to “burry the hatchet” and avoid taking “suicidal” steps in the overall interest of the NDA.

Lalu Prasad pulling big crowds at his parivartan meetings in the heart of social conflict torn central Bihar in particular and all across the state in general has escalated their anxiety. “The huge gathering at Lalu’s meetings reflected that some people were disenchanted with the NDA and were turning towards the RJD chief,” said a senior JD(U) leader at Buxar, adding that the alliance must concentrate on plugging the loopholes in the governance.

“One can easily spot the failures in the governance. Hooch tragedies claimed several lives in Ara, Madhubani and Patna. Officials at police stations and block offices are openly taking bribes. The law and order situation has relatively deteriorated. It is the time to address the people’s grievances rather than indulging in the politics of one-upmanship,” he said.

The cadres’ worry notwithstanding, the top layers of the two alliance parties have so far not given any indication that they were doing something tangible to address the issue that had been setting them apart. Nitish has silently but firmly communicated to the BJP that he would not settle for anything less than the “declaration” of a secular candidate for the PM’s post.

It is an open secret that he would abrogate the 16-year-old tie with the BJP if the latter projected his Gujarat counterpart and his undeclared rival Narendra Modi as the prime ministerial candidate. Nitish followed up on his “resolve” to see Modi out of the prime ministerial race by not congratulating him on his hat-trick in Gujarat recently.

The top BJP leadership has not officially declared that Modi is its prime ministerial candidate, but it has also not issued any instruction to its cadres to stop chanting “Desh ka neta kaisa ho, Narendra Modi jaisa ho. With the Lok Sabha elections nearing and the BJP high command remaining “indecisive” over its prime ministerial candidate, the observers are seeing the abrogation of the JD(U)-BJP tie only a “matter of time”.