The resurgence of Lalu Prasad is the story of this election. Staging a remarkable comeback, the former Chief Minister of Bihar and an ever-heavy weight politician of the state scripted a resounding victory for the ‘Grand Alliance’. Lalu’s RJD has emerged as the single largest party in Bihar with 80 seats, as per the latest count.
“We will continue with our fight. There will be such a long-term impact of Bihar results on the national politics that you cannot imagine. The Modi government, the RSS government will be demolished,” said Lalu Prasad accompanied by Nitish Kumar.
Even as RJD emerged as the single largest party, Lalu said it was a victory of the grand alliance and not of one party.
“If anyone wants to sow the seeds of division among us, we won’t let that happen. We are not going to be divided for the next ten lives,” he said in his inimitable style amid loud cheers from workers and supporters.
Though he himself was debarred from contesting the elections, due to conviction in a case under prevention of corruption charges, Lalu led from the front in reviving the fortunes of his almost moribund party.
These polls were tipped as a ‘make or break’ one for Lalu and his RJD, especially after being almost written off post the setback in 2014 general elections where RJD returned with just 3 seats. RJD had also performed dismally in 2010 assembly polls when it was restricted to a humiliating 22 seats in the 243-member Bihar assembly.
The once seemingly invincible RJD, with its massive Muslim-OBC votebank, was not even eligible for the Leader of Opposition’s post after 2010 results as the NDA under Nitish Kumar and BJP won an astounding four fifth majority in the 243-member assembly.
However, things began to change after Nitish Kumar snapped ties with the BJP on the issue of Narendra Modi been declared as the Prime Ministerial candidate of NDA.
And the heavy defeats of both RJD and JD (U) along with the drubbing of Congress in 2014 general elections laid the foundation of the ‘Grand Alliance’.
Though initially reluctant, Lalu eventually agreed to accept Nitish Kumar as the Grand Alliance’s chief ministerial candidate. With he himself not eligible to contest elections, his wife Rabri Devi unwilling to return to the hurly burly of politics, and sons Tejaswi and Tej Pratap too young to handle the pressure that comes with the hot seat, Lalu declared Nitish Kumar will be the Chief Minister even if RJD won more seat than JD(U).
When RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat suggested a review of the reservation policy in an interview to the RSS mouthpiece ‘The Organiser’ and ‘Panchjanya’, Lalu, one of the most enduring mascots of post-Mandal politics, was quick to pounce on it and raise an alarm about a move by the Narendra Modi government to scrap quotas. The charge that he repeated rally after rally.
With Bihar won with an almost landslide, Lalu Prasad didn’t delay the announcement of his next course of action.
“I will also go to Varanasi (PM Modi’s constituency) with lantern (RJD’s election symbol),” Lalu added amid massive celebrations of his party workers.
(With inputs from the PTI)