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Oppn fishes in troubled waters

Patna, Jan. 30: The opposition is aiming to make the most out of the internal conflict in the JD(U).

Party MP Shivanand Tiwari’s open letter to state party chief Bashishtha Narayan Singh criticising Nitish Kumar and another legislator of the Upper House, N.K. Singh, slamming the chief minister, have galvanised the opposition parties.

“Nothing can be better in an election year when leaders of your opponent party begin to criticise their leadership. It demoralizes the party workers like nothing else. The focus shifts towards the fragile situation inside your opponent’s party,” said an RJD leader gleefully.

It is not surprising that the BJP and the RJD have made statements on the rising dissent inside the JD(U). They have sensed that it is the right time to fish in troubled waters.

RJD MP Ram Kripal Yadav said that Shivanand had been denied the re-nomination to the Rajya Sabha because he openly spoke in favour of party workers and narrated their feelings at the JD(U)’s Rajgir meet. BJP leader and former deputy chief minister Sushil Kumar Modi said Shivanand’s letter reflects the “internal situation in the JD(U)” and that several JD(U) leaders are in contact with him to join the BJP.

The national spokesperson of the BJP, Rajiv Pratap Rudy, jeered that the reluctance of the JD(U) leaders to contest the Lok Sabha polls showed the actual future of the party in the coming elections.

When the alliance of the BJP and the JD(U) broke down, both the parties claimed that the MLAs from the other side would join them. Till now, there have been dissenting notes against their leadership by a few MLAs from both the parties. However, a large number of sitting MPs of the JD(U) have opted for either BJP or RJD to contest the next Lok Sabha polls.

“The fact that as many as three sitting MPs from the Rajya Sabha prefer to avoid contesting on a JD(U) ticket, makes it a ripe time for gaining a psychological edge over our former friends,” said a BJP leader.

RJD leaders pointed out that Lalu Prasad has repeatedly said that Nitish is not a factor in the elections in Bihar.

“The refusal of the sitting MPs to contest always strengthens the point and it will be to our advantage if Shivanand campaigns with Laluji in the Lok Sabha polls. Shivanandji is a powerful orator,” said a senior RJD leader.

The JD(U), for now, appears to have gone into the back foot, neither seeking an explanation from either Shivanand Tiwari or N.K. Singh nor making counter statements against the opposition.

It is busy deflecting the criticism against Nitish by his own party leaders.

“The idea to field sitting Rajya Sabha MPs in the Lok Sabha and have new faces in the Rajya Sabha was mine and not Nitish’s. He only accepted my idea,” said Bashishtha, expressing surprise that Shivanand had questioned the humanity of Nitish Kumar despite having a long association. “But for the moment, no action is being taken against Shivanandji,” he said.

JD(U) leaders conceded that the revolt could have not come at a worst time.

“Shivanand and N.K. are no mass leaders. But they can cause irritation and embarrassment to the party at the time when it is gearing up for the Lok Sabha polls. They provide the opposition another weapon to attack us,” said a JD(U) MLA.