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`Modi factor' is the political glue which keeps Lalu-Nitish tightly bound
The Lalu-Nitish led `grand alliance' partnered with Congress has been on a dream run since they defeated the BJP-led NDA in the Bihar assembly elections in November last year. Many political pundits had predicted that this alliance of political compulsions would wither away soon, but that apparently did not happen, and if I may dare to say so, is also not expected to happen in the near future.

The reasons for my thinking so are abundantly clear.

The real fact is that both Lalu and Nitish are bound by political glue, so strong that it forces the two-decade old arch rivals to keep chanting `till death do us part'. Their real problem is `Modi' or the `M' factor. Both of them are not only scared, but petrified of Narendra Modi. 

It was the `Modi storm' in the 2014 Lok Sabha elections which had routed Nitish Kumar's JD (U) after he had decided to part ways with the NDA, with Narendra Modi's arrival at the horizon as the prime ministerial candidate of the BJP. Nitish had his own apprehensions at that time, as he thought that he would lose out on his Muslim votes, which he had sneaked from underneath Lalu with a lot of effort. But the decision of Nitish backfired in the 2014 Lok Sabha elections.

Lalu Prasad too was being looked upon as a spent force after his party's miserable losses in the Bihar assembly elections of 2005 and 2010. The losing streak of his party continued even through the 2009 and 2014 Lok Sabha elections. Lalu's wife and former CM Rabri Devi lost from Yadav dominated seats in the 2010 assembly polls, while his daughter Misa too lost her seat in a Yadav stronghold, indicating that Lalu was quickly losing support within his own community.

The final jolt for Lalu came in the form of his conviction in the fodder scam and his subsequent disqualification from contesting an election, which left him cornered. But, Lalu is Lalu, the buoyant self-confessed king-maker, who would not even hesitate to shake hands with the devil for power. So how difficult it would have been for him to shake hands with his two-decade old arch rival with a contrasting ideology? I guess, not much.

In a recent development the Nitish-led Bihar government withdrew the second case against RJD supremo Lalu Prasad Yadav in a span of 15 days. A Patna court on Wednesday dropped a case against Lalu for preventing a government-appointed photographer from covering a road show of RJD during the 2014 Lok Sabha elections. Previously, a Patna court had withdrawn a case against 265 RJD workers on January 19, which included Lalu's sons Tej Pratap and Tejashwi Yadav, relating to a bandh called by their party on July 27, 2015.

It is a clear indicator that Lalu is currently running the show in Bihar, and that too without holding a constitutional post, while Nitish Kumar himself is in no position to raise objections, as Lalu's RJD emerged as the largest party in the 2015 Bihar assembly elections with 80 seats, while the Nitish-led JD (U) managed to acquire only 71 seats. Both sons of Lalu were handed plump posts in the Nitish cabinet. While his 26-year old son is the deputy chief minister, his 28-year old elder son was made the health minister, despite not even being a graduate.

BJP legislature party leader and former deputy CM Sushil Kumar Modi expressed his displeasure on dropping of cases against Lalu by the Nitish government by saying, "Thankfully, fodder scam cases are not within the purview of the state government, or Lalu Prasad could have gotten them withdrawn too."

Lalu has already announced that he would be sending wife Rabri and daughter Misa to the Rajya Sabha this year. He even mischievously took a jibe at PM Modi after the Bihar election results were declared that he would visit Varanasi, the constituency of Modi with a lantern (his party election symbol) and search where development had taken place.

So, even Lalu, who is reaping rich dividends from the grand alliance, has no reasons to complain. It would be political suicide for Lalu to even think about leaving the grand alliance for the time being at least.

It is only the people of Bihar, who are witnessing the return of `Jungle Raj' will be complaining. According to a recent CNN-IBN report, 300 cases of murder and kidnappings were reported in the month of December last year alone. Recently, murders of two engineers Brajesh Kumar and Mukesh Kumar on the Darbhanga-Kusheshwarsthan state highway have shattered Nitish Kumar's claims that there would be no compromise with law and orders in the state. But, facts so far, do not seem to say so. 

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 merinews.com. In case you have a opposing view, please click here to share the same in the comments section.
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