Patna, Oct. 4: Their boss has been in jail only for a few days, but the party has already started speaking in several voices.
Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) leaders are alleging a conspiracy hatched by chief minister Nitish Kumar and his erstwhile ally the BJP behind the conviction of Lalu Prasad in the fodder scam. But ordinary party workers are blaming the Congress in general and Rahul Gandhi in particular for the plight of their supreme leader who has been sentenced to five years in prison.
Lalu’s son Tejaswi, who returned to Patna from Ranchi today, also made an indirect reference to Rahul Gandhi. “People made comments on the ordinance without even going through it. The ordinance was not to save Laluji,” he said, referring to the controversial ordinance cleared by the Union cabinet last week and dismissed as “nonsense” by Rahul. The ordinance has since been withdrawn.
The RJD and JD(U) leadership are vying with each other for an alliance with the Congress which could lead to a tilt in the substantial Muslim votes. In spite of RJD leaders’ anger against Rahul for opposing the ordinance which sought to give relief to tainted politicians, they played down the issue and have been trying to deflect the blame to the JD(U) and the BJP.
However, at the RJD workers’ meeting today, the party appeared to be out of sync. Most RJD leaders blamed the JD(U) and the BJP, but the workers trained their guns at the Congress.
Murmurs of dissent turned into an audible rumble as Rajya Sabha MP Ram Kripal Yadav started blaming Nitish and the BJP.
Dinesh Yadav, a party worker who had come from Mokama, said their leaders were sending the wrong message. “Why are they not speaking about the real issue? Our leaders must protest against how the Congress, which we have supported at the Centre, ditched us and sent Laluji to prison. If they want to gain the sympathy of the voters, they should openly attack the Congress,” he said as his fellow workers shouted slogans like “Main Bhi Lalu, Tu Bhi Lalu, Ab toh Pura Bihar Lalu.”
A senior party leader, who did not wish to be named, said this was precisely what the RJD should decide at its meeting on Sunday. “We are already drifting. Now if we don’t pull our socks up, the party will be completely directionless,” he said.