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Scaling up the Mahagathbandhan template, Lalu Prasad and Nitish Kumar to meet Sonia Gandhi today

by | Sep 25, 2022 | India

After breaking off with the BJP in August, the Bihar chief minister has been on an Opposition unity mission, having met an array of Opposition leaders including Rahul Gandhi and Arvind Kejriwal during his last Delhi visit.

 

Aiming to scale up Bihar’s “mahagathbandhan”template at the national level, Bihar veterans Lalu Prasad and Nitish Kumar will meet Congress interim president Sonia Gandhi Sunday evening.

After breaking off with the BJP in August, the Bihar chief minister has been on an Opposition unity mission, having met an array of Opposition leaders including Rahul Gandhi and Arvind Kejriwal during his last Delhi visit. Before meeting Gandhi, Kumar will this occasion – together with Prasad – attend a mega rally of Opposition leaders at Fatehgarh in Haryana. The gathering – organised by INLD chief Om Prakash Chauthala on Chaudhary Devi Lal’s birth anniversary -is expected to be attended by Opposition veterans including Mulayam Singh Yadav and Dr. Farooq Abdullah.

Opposition politics is expected to gain steam in coming days, with the coalition government beginning the exercise of conducting a caste census for the state after the Dussehra season. The Nitish Kumar government, as Home Minister Amit Shah said at Purnea recently, is also planning to ban the CBI in the state. BJP strategists fear that Kumar’s caste census gambit could lead to a domino effect in Opposition ruled states and revive Mandal-2 politics.

In several past Lok Sabha elections, Opposition unity efforts have been initiated -and collapsed because of the weight of internal contradictions. “But the effort this time is to strengthen federalism, instead of aiming to set up a national coalition with an Opposition prime ministerial candidate”, JDU sources said, while adding: ” Parties more likely to defeat the BJP in respective states will be strengthened”.

Such scenarios are not simplistic, as leaders such as Mamata Banerjee and Arvind Kejriwal have been attempting to fill up the Congress states, instead of focusing on defeating the BJP. “But the common threat relating to the BJP’s ” Misuse of the central investigating agencies including the CBI” will eventually bind all the Opposition leaders together”, sources close to Kumar said.

While Kumar has taken to the long and winding road of Opposition unity,the older generation of socialists are well past their prime. Lalu Prasad, for instance, has been shuffling between jails and the hospital and is shortly likely to fly off to Singapore for a kidney transplant.

Srinanda Jha
Srinand Jha
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Journalist by accident, rail, travel and political buff by choice - dissenter by compulsion. Interested in policy and governance.