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Dal unites with RJD to fight BJP in bypolls

Lalu and Nitish

Patna, July 20: The ’90s are back with the RJD and the JDU joining hands to stop the BJP juggernaut in the August 21 Assembly by-elections.

The move is being seen as an effort by socialist forces in the state to nip BJP in the bud. The party put up an astounding performance in the Lok Sabha elections, leaving the RJD and JDU in the lurch.

“There is simply no option. Either we put up a joint resistance or perish separately,” said a senior JDU leader.

Political analysts feel Lalu Prasad (RJD) and Nitish Kumar (JDU) are fighting for their survival. Poor performance in the Assembly polls would put a big question mark on their existence in state politics. The Lok Sabha rout has brought two enemies together.

The bypolls will test if the social base of the two parties is compatible or not as they have been taught to vote against each other for years. It will test the hopes of Lalu-Nitish of reviving the Mandal era at a time when the OBCs and EBCs have tended to go towards the BJP led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, himself haling from backward caste.

The decision on the alliance was taken today during the JDU’s state working committee meet attended by chief minister Jitan Ram Manjhi and Nitish. Emerging out of the three-and-half-an-hour meeting, Manjhi said: “Most of us are in favour of joining hands with the RJD, which stood with us in difficult times. The party’s state president, Bashishtha Narayan Singh, has been authorised to chalk out the details of the alliance.”

During the meeting, Nitish praised Lalu. “He stood with us in tough times and our friendship will continue in future as well,” said Nitish.

The RJD state president, Ram Chandra Purbey, said: “To defeat the communal forces, it is important that secular parties like the RJD and the JDU stand together and contest the bypolls in alliance. However, a final decision would be taken by our party chief.”

The 10 seats, which go to the polls, are Narkatiaganj, Rajnagar, Jale, Chhapra, Hajipur, Mohiuddinnagar, Parbatta, Bhagalpur, Banka and Mohania.