The Telegraph
Tuesday , May 20 , 2014
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Lalu buys time on possible ‘secular’ tie-up

RJD chief Lalu Prasad on Monday was in no mood to talk about Nitish Kumar or the strong indication that social welfare minister Jitan Ram Manjhi being sworn in as the chief minister.

“Let Manjhi take oath, then I will speak,” he told newsmen. Lalu held a four-hour meeting with Lok Sabha candidates at 10 Circular Road.

“It was the first time when a closed-door meeting has been held in the RJD. Not even MLAs were allowed in the meeting,” said an RJD former minister.

Lalu later said even in Bihar, the majority of votes was against communal forces. He, however, declared that his party’s rout in the Lok Sabha was owing to the successful communalisation of voters by the BJP. He announced that a workers’ meet would be held in Patna on June 5 and swore that his fight against communal forces was on.

Former Union minister Raghuvansh Prasad Singh refused to comment on the JD(U) activities. “It’s their development. Why should it bother our party,” he said. The closed-door meeting did not surprise RJD leaders. “When an open-house meeting was held after the 2009 Lok Sabha elections, it turned into a heated exchange of words by various candidates who lost and accused other RJD leaders of sabotaging their election and created an ugly scene. Laluji wanted to avoid the scene,” said a senior RJD leader.

The talk of an alliance with JD(U) appears to have died down, at least for the time being.

“A lot of things have to be settled before the alliance is formalised. Questions on who would be the head of the alliance, ministries in the state government, the structure and organisation, co-ordination between the two parties and its workers,” said a RJD leader, insisting that first the bitterness between Lalu and Nitish had to go before any meaningful dialogue is held. However, both leaders realise that they would have to join hands sooner or later if they have to fight the BJP and its allies in the state, he added.

Ever since the alliance between the JD(U) and the RJD was announced by Sharad Yadav after talks with Lalu Prasad, there has been strong resistance by workers from both sides. JD(U) workers banged their fists on the vehicle of Sharad Yadav as they raised slogans against him and the RJD. There was strong opposition even among a section of RJD leaders. Both Lalu and Sharad Yadav had to backtrack.

Before forging an alliance, both Nitish and Lalu have to put their houses in order. The workers and supporters of both parties are demoralised after the defeat in the Lok Sabha polls. Nitish has already announced that he would be visiting every nook and corner of Bihar. Lalu is going to kick off his revival action from June 5.

“It’s just a matter of time when the two will meet,” predicted a RJD leader.

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