RJD chief Lalu Prasad Yadav today met Congress President Sonia Gandhi and promised to fight BJP tooth and nail amid signs of a realignment of political forces in Bihar. The meeting with Gandhi follows his party's decision to extend "unconditional support" to the new government of arch- rival JD(U) in Bihar.
"This is a storm. It will not last long. We will fight communalism tooth and nail. We have given unconditional support to the JD(U) government in Bihar to foil BJP's design to capture power in the state," Prasad told reporters after his meeting with Gandhi at her 10, Janpath residence here. Although RJD was tipped for a good show in Bihar over talk that JD(U) had lost ground, the Prasad-led party could manage to win only four seats. Neither could its ally Congress improve its previous tally of two seats in the state.
The RJD chief has claimed that BJP's handsome performance in the state was due to the "spread of communal poison at the grassroots". Earlier, talking to PTI, Prasad said, "We have been supporting Congress at the Centre for a long time to check communal forces. Similarly, our support to the Jitan Ram Manjhi government in Bihar is also to check BJP and foil its design to capture power in the state.
"It is unconditional support, but we will keep monitoring the working of the government."
As to whether his support of the JD(U) government signals a future coming together of the two parties, Prasad said that was an altogether different issue, although he drew attention to his earlier remark on the day of results that the division of socialist and 'Mandal' forces would have its consequences. To a specific question as to whether RJD and JD(U) can come together to take on BJP, he said such questions were in the realm of the future.
"For the time being, only this much is true -- that we are supporting the Manjhi government to check communal forces and there is no other politics in it right now," he said. The comprehensive defeat of JD(U) and RJD at the hustings has seen the bitter rivals warming to each other with several leaders in both parties, including JD(U) President Sharad Yadav, hinting at a partnership to take on BJP. For the first time in Bihar politics, BJP has become the pre-eminent party, leaving the once all-powerful regional satraps to think about their future course of action.
Nitish quit as the Bihar chief minister following his party's debacle and Prasad extended support to the new government under Manjhi, putting to rest the speculation about its future.