BJP set to defuse lalu & family with Nitish’s help
By Anand St Das | Published: 29th July 2017 11:04 PM |
PATNA: After the masterstroke of bagging Bihar by allying with Nitish Kumar’s JD(U), BJP’s next aim is to neutralise one of its biggest threats in the Hindi heartland, Lalu Prasad Yadav and his RJD.
The resurgent saffron party, which got 13 NDA leaders inducted into Bihar’s new JD(U)-BJP government led by Nitish on Saturday, has put in place an elaborate plan to push the beleaguered “Bihar strongman” and his politically ambitious family to the wall.
Sushil Kumar Modi, the BJP leader who has now become Deputy CM after a four-year gap, will lead the charge in a concerted campaign to ensure that Lalu’s formidable electoral support base in Bihar tilts to NDA. Modi played the stellar role in BJP’s dogged campaign to expose the Yadav family’s many dubious land deals that led to FIRs and raids by CBI and Enforcement Directorate. With support from JD(U) leaders, Modi accessed documentary evidence and revealed nearly 20 cases of alleged wrongdoing by the Yadavs in a series of press conferences over three months.
Nitish Kumar’s no-holds-barred attack on Lalu in his speech during the trust vote indicated that the JD(U)-BJP combine would work together to expose Lalu’s secular grandstanding and his family’s empire of dubiously acquired wealth. JD(U) sources said Kumar, who is privy to many of Yadav’s secrets, has been so hurt by the latter’s “arrogance of being the biggest party” that he will cooperate with BJP in exposing those secrets and humiliate the RJD chief.
Although Tejaswi Yadav, the RJD chief’s younger son whose refusal to resign as Deputy CM despite pressure from JD(U) alienated Nitish and benefited BJP, was blamed by many for the grand alliance’s untimely fall, his 45-minute scintillating speech during the trust vote has made many RJD leaders optimistic about the party’s future.
“Tejaswi’s powerful speech is proof that Nitish, by dumping RJD and joining NDA, has unwittingly given Bihar’s backward and oppressed classes the future Lalu Prasad,” said Bhola Prasad, RJD legislator and key Lalu aide.
But BJP leaders are unconvinced. “By the time he was 26, he had become the owner of 26 plots of prime property acquired illegally. The baggage of his father’s unholy legacy has nipped his political growth in the bud,” said Modi.
Sources said that Tejaswi, named in an FIR by CBI, and Misa Bharti, Lalu’s eldest daughter and Rajya Sabha member who is an accused in a `8,000-crore money laundering case registered by ED, could be arrested before RJD’s proposed August 27 rally of several anti-BJP parties. Lalu, convicted in a fodder scam case in 2013 and on bail since, faces the danger of conviction in four other fodder scam cases currently on trial in Ranchi.
Team BJP gunning for Lalu
Sushil Kumar Modi
The main face in BJP’s operation against Lalu and his politically active offspring. Trusted by PM Narendra Modi and BJP chief Amit Shah, Sushil has been at the forefront of anti-Lalu political operations in Bihar since the 90s. With RSS roots, he was Bihar’s Leader of Opposition from 1996 to 2004 and had exposed the `Rs 1,000 crore fodder scam, which led to Lalu’s conviction in 2013. He is often described as Bihar’s future CM.
President of BJP’s Bihar state unit, Rai is an OBC Yadav leader and MP from Ujiarpur. He has been targeting Lalu and his family, providing crucial support to Sushil Modi. With deft organisational skills, he has placed BJP leaders in key positions in the party unit with the aim of minimising the impact of Lalu and RJD on Bihar’s electorate. Rai is a first-time MP and has won Assembly polls four times between 2000 and 2010.
Nand Kishore Yadav
BJP’s most prominent Yadav face in Bihar, he played key role with Sushil Modi in effecting JD(U)’s return to NDA. Known for his strong oratorical skills, he was inducted into Bihar’s new JD(U)-BJP government. During the two parties’ alliance government from 2005 and 2013, he was a minister. He has strong RSS roots and was BJP’s Bihar chief and leader of Opposition in the Assembly.
A prominent leader from the electorally significant EBC, he was Leader of Opposition till he was made a minister on Saturday. A seven-term MLA from Gaya Town, he has been a key player in BJP’s anti-RJD campaigns. He was a minister in Nitish’s Cabinet during the JD(U)-BJP government in 2005 and 2013. Known for excellent rapport with BJP leaders, he was being talked about as being BJP’s CM candidate before the 2015 Assembly polls.
BJP plans to woo the Yadavs, Bihar’s most populous OBC community that forms the bulk of Lalu’s support base. By deploying top Yadav leaders such as Nand Kishore Yadav, Nawal Kishor Yadav, Ram Kripal Yadav and Rabindra Yadav, the party will seek to endear itself to the community. In 2015, BJP fielded 40 Yadav candidates, but only six won.
With Nitish Kumar by its side and considering his pro-EBC tilt, BJP plans to mobilise EBCs to weaken Lalu’s influence in Bihar’s hinterlands. EBCs, a diverse group of castes, form about 26 per cent of the electorate and include some Muslim castes.
Raising funds flow
By increasing funds for development, BJP plans a stronger mark of its commitment for Bihar’s rapid growth. The new JD(U)-BJP government is working to ensure completion of road and other infrastructure projects started during the grand alliance government.
Narendra Modi’s visits
Frequent visits by PM Narendra Modi to Bihar for launching and promoting Central schemes are in the pipeline. BJP leaders hope his increasing presence will lead to a gradual erosion of Lalu’s support base, especially in districts dominated by Yadavs and Muslims.
While working on exposing more cases of wrongdoing by Lalu and his family, BJP aims at ensuring that cases lodged against Lalu, his younger son Tejaswi and eldest daughter Misa Bharti are probed faster. This, the party hopes, will help wean Bihar’s electorate away from its “grand misconception of Lalu’s benevolent personality and politics”.