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Bihar assembly polls: It's Lalu Yadav vs Nitish Kumar first, and then anti-BJP front vs BJP-led NDA
Hardly three-four months are left for Bihar assembly elections, but the problem of anti-BJP front (RJD, JDU, Congress, NCP) in Bihar is still in mess. Forget about the erstwhile Janata Parivar (which belongs to Janata Dal and not Janata Party, as latter includes BJP), now the coalition between RJD, JDU, Congress and NCP is in question.
Although Samajwadi Party chief Mulayam Singh's intervention created a six member committee, three from RJD and three from JDU to finalize seat sharing, but one shouldn't be optimistic about a positive result. It's really a negotiation between Nitish Kumar and Lalu Yadav. This is not happening and thus the committee would also be a failure.

The proposal of reunion of Janata Parivar has no problem in UP and Karnataka. It's complicated in Bihar because here there are two power centers namely Lalu Yadav and Nitish Kumar. Nitish Kumar is the present chief minister, so he has a right to be projected as the chief ministerial candidate of the alliance.

But Lalu's party RJD has more vote share, thus automatically RJD is seeking more seats in the election. Some sources say that Lalu Yadav is ready to accept Nitish Kumar as CM candidate provided RJD contests on 140 seats. Now if the coalition wins, RJD's strength would be more than that of JDU and hence despite Nitish Kumar remaining CM, Lalu's dictate will work.

On the other hand, Nitish has proposed that both RJD and JDU contest on 100 seats each and rest 43 seats go to the alliance partner. In such a case if alliance wins the election, then as a CM Nitish would be tension free. This is not acceptable to Lalu as he is a shrewd politician and knows that once his importance is gone, Nitish will finish him politically. That's why if required RJD may go alone.

To pressurise Lalu Yadav, Nitish Kumar met Rahul Gandhi and Bihar Congress declared that the coalition with JDU is finalized with Nitish as CM candidate. This has been nothing but an attempt to make lalu fall in line.

If vote share of general election 2014 is considered, then the vote shares of probable parties in an anti-NDA front is like this: RJD-20.10%, JDU-15.80%, Congress 8.4% and NCP-1.2% adding up to 45.5% of the total turnover. That means among this possible coalition, RJD got 44.07%, JDU got 34.72%. NCP got 2.63% and Congress got 18.46%.

If this percentage is made as a base for seat allocation then RJD should get 108 seats, JDU-84 seats, Congress-45 seats and NCP-6 seats. RJD would agree on it if there is no CM candidate, where as JDU would disagree on it even if Nitish is projected as CM. Clearly in this coalition/merger game one strongman has to sacrifice himself. Here sacrifice means going to oblivion which neither Lalu Yadav nor Nitish Kumar can afford.

On a close scrutiny one can understand that Lalu Yadav has much upper hand than Nitish Kumar. To understand see the explaination below.

First, when the separation between Lalu Yadav and Nitish Kumar happened, BJP was not a reason. That's why Nitish's vote base is not anti-BJP, rather anti-RJD. That's why in general election 2014, Nitish lost around 8.24% votes to BJP.

If there would be any collaboration between RJD and JDU, more vote share is likely to move towards BJP instead of coalition with RJD. On the other hand despite huge loss RJD's vote share increased by 0.80%. This can be part of Congress's loss of 1.86%. Interestingly the Congress lost only 1.86% vote share.

Now Lalu Yadav is an expert in electoral politics. He knows that, if coalition is not possible, then he can dent Congress's vote share to increase his share while knowing that BJP can get some of the JDU's vote share. Thus in the coming election BJP may win, but Nitish will be finished politically.

Before fighting against NDA, both Lalu and Nitish have to fight for their survival first. That's why I don't think the coalition of anti-BJP is very complicated and difficult.

I wouldn't be surprised if Lalu Yadav offer more seats to the Congress and NCP to make it RJD-Congress-NCP-Jitan Ram Manjhi excluding Nitish's JDU!

Time will tell what will happen. But no doubt the biggest fight in Bihar polity at the moment is Nitish versus Lalu Yadav.

Editorial NOTE: This article is categorized under Opinion Section. The views expressed in this article are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of In case you have a opposing view, please click here to share the same in the comments section.
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