Such is the jealousy (read political insecurity) in the opposition parties that all Toms, Dicks and Harrys, belonging to opposing political and ideological spectrum, have come together to form the grandest alliance of zeros—the Janata Parivar.
While we hear representatives of Mulayam Singh’s Samajwadi Party and Lalu Prasad's Rashtriya Janata Dal huffing and puffing during TV debates, defending their coming together of sorts, the irony is not lost on anyone because the ground reality is that even their tallest leaders were found wanting in an attempt to retain their home seats in the 2014 Lok Sabha elections.
With their collective tally not even crossing the double-digit mark in the 2014 Bihar Lok Sabha polls—the RJD got four seats, and the JD(U) and the Congress two each—it would be a spectacle waiting to unravel itself in the upcoming Bihar Assembly elections, with the coming together of the “jungle raj” and a “weak governance” in a desperate political tie-up.
It is bizarre when the spokespersons for the alliance, which has the backing of the ‘all powerful’ Congress, try to reason this uncomfortable marriage on ‘social-base’ issues and the coming together of the pseudo ‘secular’ forces, and not on their collective urgency to survive the evolving political realities of the country. Or, simply put, their need to match up and compete with the good and clean governance model as presented to the citizenry by their sole competition—the Narendra Modi-led NDA government.
What is, perhaps, even more farcical is that the alliance's crucial link, Lalu Prasad, who happens to be the first politician found guilty and convicted for wrongdoings while holding a position of power, is today pontificating and sitting in judgment over others, and their way of functioning and running the government. Whether he has forgotten that he himself came down heavily on Nitish Kumar once, and blamed him and the NDA for ‘conspiring’ to send him to jail is also an angle possibly waiting to play out either post the assembly elections or even before, knowing the love-hate relationship between the allies.
As for the Congress, it is anybody’s guess that Rahul Gandhi is prodding and pushing the opposition camps to quietly come together to enable him to get the otherwise evasive political credit if at all the anti-NDA alliance performs well in the Bihar elections. Some even see his involvement as an attempt, perhaps, by his mother, to justify his holding a high position in the party.
Though Lalu may have given up his position of power and agreed to work under the leadership of his arch rival Nitish Kumar, he is making no efforts to hide his displeasure. While announcing Nitish Kumar as the Janata Parivar's chief ministerial candidate, Lalu's facial expressions and body language said it all. So much so that reports are surfacing about the second-tier leadership in the RJD disagreeing to the arrangement and questioning Nitish Kumar’s political presence in Bihar as a strong alliance par tner.
While seat-sharing remains an ongoing issue, the “ideological reunion” seems more like an ideological realignment to defeat competition.
An advice to the 'newly-weds' on making adjustments: Two zeros add up to nothing but a zero.