Has the big Lalu-Nitish union paid off?
That is the million dollar question that will be answered today, when the results of 10 by-polls in Bihar are revealed shortly. The latest results show the BJP ahead in 6 constituencies, and the united alliance ahead in 4.
Dubbed as a semi-final to the assembly polls next year, these polls are expected to give all political stakeholders a sense of the people’s mood, and will also give BJP rivals a sense of whether the Modi wave is as invulnerable as it looked in the Lok Sabha polls.
Considering the significance of the by-elections for their political survival, Lalu Prasad and Nitish Kumar have made several trips to the 10 constituencies.
Though no big leaders from outside the state campaigned for NDA candidates, state BJP leaders with LJP chief Ramvilas Paswan and ally Rashtriya Loktantrik Samata Party of Upendra Kushwaha criss-crossed the state to drum up support.
Nitish and Lalu's strategy is not just to target the Muslims.
The two hope to consolidate the Muslim, Yadav and backward caste votes. At stake are not just these 10 seats that the alliance is targetting -- Bihar goes to polls in 2015 and this Congress-JD(U)-RJD combine is their only hope to keep the BJP from sweeping the state. Still, this alliance is a gamble for the two former CMs, combined as well as individually.
If this combine does not click, rebuilding his personal credibility will be that much tougher for Nitish. This has to be especially true for a man who forced the comfortably placed JD (U)-BJP alliance in Bihar, which had ruled for two consecutive terms, to collapse over Narendra Modi's ascendancy as prime ministerial candidate.
Personal credibility was all he walked away with from that mess, something he has already tossed into the stakes with this alliance.
For Lalu personally, a defeat now would be simply disastrous. The RJD, already riven by factionalism, could cease to count as a political force if it splinters.
In the midst of all the tension, the RJD chief Lalu Prasad Yadav , has been hospitalised in Mumbai.
"This is a scheduled medical evaluation. There is no cause to panic," a spokesperson for the Asian Heart Institute, located in Mumbai, told PTI.
Asked if the 66-year-old leader would undergo a heart surgery, the spokesperson said, "That would be decided onlyafter medical evaluation."
With inputs from agencies
Updated Date: Aug 25, 2014 11:09:23 IST