RJD is now trying hard to regain lost ground

The Asian Age.  | nayear azad

India, All India

JD(U) had staged a walkout in the Rajya Sabha protesting the Muslim Women (Protection of Rights of Marriage) Bill.

A file photo of RJD leader Tejashwi Yadav speaking to the media after a meeting to discuss the RJD-led grand alliance’s defeat in the Lok Sabha polls in Patna. (Photo: PTI)

Patna: At a time when ruling JD(U) is working hard to strengthen the organisation at the grassroot level, the RJD which is the main Opposition party in Bihar is facing internal challenges and leadership crisis.

The most recent example which pointed at the growing crisis in RJD was when one of its strong Muslim faces from Mithilanchal, Mohammad Ali Ashraf Fatmi left the party and joined the JD(U).  

Mr Fatmi, who has been four-time MP from Darbhanga, was considered close to RJD chief Lalu Yadav who is now serving a jail term for his involvement in the fodder scam case.

The development is being seen as a huge setback for the RJD which has been trying to regain its lost ground and was banking on the Muslim-Yadav (M-Y) formula floated by Lalu Yadav in the 90s. “The situation has changed after the Lok Sabha elections. Nitish Kumar’s development with justice and his stand on minority issues have impressed Muslims in Bihar,” MA Fatmi said after he joined the JD(U) recently in Patna.

Though the RJD tried to downplay the issue, sources said that there are several others who have also been looking for an option to quit the party and join the JD(U) before 2020 Assembly elections.

Political analysts are of the opinion that internal problems faced by RJD leadership could be one of the reasons behind the crisis in the party. They also pointed at some of the recent statements made by Congress leaders which indicated that the grand alliance may also split in Bihar before the 2020 Assembly elections.

“The fate of the coalition can only be decided by our central leadership but at the moment we can only say that the scenario is difficult for the party in Bihar,” a senior Congress party leader said on condition of anonymity.

Congress legislature party (CLP) leader Sadanand Singh has however been stressing that the party must improve its base and explore the possibility of contesting 2020 Assembly polls on its own.

Another senior Congress leader and MLA Shakeel Ahmed Khan has also been repeatedly hinting that the party is not in favour of contesting Bihar polls under the leadership of Tejashwi Yadav and Nitish Kumar is the only option left for the minorities in Bihar.

“Nobody wants to ride a sinking boat. Contesting the 2020 Assembly election in alliance with RJD could be fatal. Secular parties especially Muslim leaders want to align with JD(U) before the elections,” Congress insiders said.

According to political observers, Nitish Kumar despite being in alliance with the BJP has started several welfare schemes which benefited the minority community.

Nitish Kumar’s party JD(U) has also been openly opposing BJP’s stand on sensitive issues like Ram Temple, Triple Talaq, Uniform Civil Code, NRC and Article 370.

Chief minister Nitish Kumar who is also the national president of JD(U) has repeatedly said that issues like Ram Temple and Triple Talaq should be resolved through negotiations.

JD(U) had staged a walkout in the Rajya Sabha protesting the Muslim Women (Protection of Rights of Marriage) Bill. The Opposition parties, however, raised questions on the intention of JD(U) for walking out of Parliament. JD(U) state president Basisth Narayan Singh called the Triple Talaq a social evil like child marriage and dowry system and emphasised that it needs to be eradicated by social awareness.