Friday, August 07, 2009

Manoj Chaurasia : Friends in need, indeed!

;Manoj Chaurasia PATNA, 6 AUG: Misery has a friend after all. RJD chief Mr Lalu Prasad and LJP president Mr Ram Vilas Paswan whose prime ministerial ambitions have been thwarted after the worst ever Lok Sabha results, have decided to seek support each other, now that they find their political existence at stake. The fallen "heroes" of Bihar, who till four months ago were sworn enemies now appear to be “inseparable”. While the RJD chief is lending his full support to the LJP in this "hour of crisis", the LJP supremo is doing everything possible to ensure his RJD counterpart does not get politically marginalised under the Congress’ continuing political game, saying that he "can’t be a part of alliance minus the RJD”. The Congress, it was learnt from reliable sources, has offered to renew its tie with Mr Paswan if he chooses to break his “friendship” with the RJD chief. “An alliance without the RJD is not acceptable to me. I’m working for a grand secular alliance comprising the Congress and the Left to defeat the communal forces in the coming Assembly elections in Bihar. Even if this exercise fails, I can’t leave the RJD to join any other alliance”, Mr Paswan announced at his party’s minority cell convention held in the local SK Memorial Hall here yesterday. “We (RJD and LJP) will contest the coming state elections together but I hope the Congress will join us in the end. The enmity (Congress’ animosity towards the RJD) is bitter because the wounds still fresh but in the end we all will be together. We are a natural alliance”, he added. The "vanquished" Dalit leader is also reiterating that the RJD still remains a major force in Bihar and that its might cannot be ignored. “A grand alliance among the Congress, RJD and LJP is the need of the hour. The Congress will have to understand this”, sources quoted Mr Paswan having told the Congress leadership recently. Reports said it was the result of Mr Paswan’s constant efforts that the RJD chief was finally allotted the front row seat in the Lok Sabha but the Congress still debating whether to welcome Mr Prasad into the party fold again or not. The RJD chief and his party too have lent their full support to the LJP in its mission to regain lost ground and reestablishing Mr Paswan as the leader of the “Dalits”. Recently when LJP workers were lathicharged during their jail bharo abhiyan in Patna, the RJD came out in strong support of its political ally describing it as an attack on “democratic rights”. The RJD is also protesting against the Nitish Kumar government’s order directing the LJP to vacate the party office which, the government says, is located in “prohibited areas”. “Order to vacate LJP office is petty politics. Nitishji should avoid doing this. We do not engage in political vendetta against any party just because it had an ideology different from ours,” Mr Prasad said. He said the chief minister must have the courage to face protests staged by the Opposition. Together with the LJP, which has announced to launch Nitish Gaddi Chhodo Andolan on 10 August, the RJD has also announced state-wide agitation against the ruling NDA coalition for its failure to declare Bihar “drought-hit”. What apparently brought the two parties together is the hope of good performance in the by-elections to 18 Assembly seats due in next two months. The seats fell vacant after the legislators were elected to Parliament in the recently-held LS polls. Apart from this, Assembly elections are due next year that will further decide their political future, and hence both Mr Prasad and Paswan need each other’s support to be politically relevant.