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  India   All India  07 Jan 2018  RJD plans yatra to whip up sympathy, seal votes

RJD plans yatra to whip up sympathy, seal votes

THE ASIAN AGE. | NAYEAR AZAD
Published : Jan 7, 2018, 2:17 am IST
Updated : Jan 7, 2018, 2:17 am IST

Analysts said that Lalu Yadav, who has been sent to jail seven times earlier, has always bounced back and emerged stronger after a stint in prison.

RJD chief Lalu Yadav. (Photo:AP)
 RJD chief Lalu Yadav. (Photo:AP)

Patna: With RJD boss Lalu Yadav behind bars, the Rashtriya Janata Dal party, led by his son Tejashwi Yadav, is all set to play the sympathy and the caste cards. Tejashwi Yadav is planning a “Nyay Yatra” across the state to whip up sympathy for his father and try to rally the subaltern vote bank.

“Lalu Yadav is a victim of a political vendetta and people will give a fitting reply to our opponents,” Tejashwi Yadav said after a party meeting in Patna on Saturday, urging  workers to remain united in the absence of his father.

 

Analysts said that Lalu Yadav, who has been sent to jail seven times earlier, has always bounced back and emerged stronger after a stint in prison.

RJD MLA Mohammad Neamatullah told this newspaper that people, especially Muslims and Yadavs, feel that the BJP has been trying to suppress Lalu Yadav’s voice by using investigative agencies.

Tejashwi Yadav lashed out at the BJP for its alleged vendetta politics against his father who was sentenced to three-and-a-half year in prison by a special CBI court in connection with a fodder scam case. This was his second jail sentence in the Rs 950 crore scam that unfolded during the 1980-90s.

The verdict in the fodder scam case has come at a time when Lalu was preparing to stitch together a secular alliance at the national level against the BJP.

 

Analysts are of the view that Lalu Yadav’s conviction for the second time in the fodder scam will not impact the party’s relationship with the Congress which is trying to return to power in 2020 Bihar Assembly elections.

Though the relationship between Lalu Yadav and Congress president Rahul Gandhi has been “cold”, it is the Tejashwi-Rahul “bonding” which will work in favour of the grand alliance against the BJP in 2019, analysts said.

Congress spokesperson Saroj Kumar said, “We formed a secular alliance in Bihar to stop the communal forces. In the coming elections, the grand secular alliance will stop the NDA not only in Bihar but also at the national level.”

 

Despite the RJD being pushed out of Bihar government after the demise of the grand alliance, the party’s Muslim-Yadav vote bank seems intact. Observers indicated that Muslims and Yadavs were “upset” over JD(U) chief and Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar who has aligned with the BJP. These two sections, by and large, owe allegiance to the RJD.

Muslims and Yadavs, who form over 30 per cent of Bihar’s population, consider Lalu as their “messiah”. Analysts say that the RJD’s vote share has been about 20 per cent in the last four elections despite losing power in 2005.

“He is a mass leader and people know that Lalu Yadav has been framed in false cases. We will not kneel down under any pressure. Instead we will reach out to people after Makar Sankranti festival,” said Tejashwi Yadav.

 

In 2010, a small section of Muslims had voted for JD(U) because Nitish Kumar by that time had emerged as the “Vikas Purush” (development man). But the situation changed in 2015 and Lalu Yadav’s core Muslim-Yadav vote bank returned to him after he formed a grand secular alliance with JD(U) and the Congress.

Tags: tejashwi yadav, nitish kumar, lalu yadav