NEW DELHI: Nearly two decades after they joined hands to irrevocably change the political landscape of the Hindi heartland, Ramvilas Paswan, Lalu Yadav and Mulayam Singh Yadav took the first tentative steps to rekindle the political chemistry of the past. The poster boys of the mandal era have once again joined hands, this time under the banner of the UPA to take on the NDA.
The threesome came together to add their own twist to the ongoing CD saga in the cash-for-votes scam by releasing a CD of their own on Monday. The realignment of foes-turned-friends is bound to have a significant bearing on the politics of the Hindi heartland. Together, the trio has the potential of providing a solid political and social bulwark in nearly 130 Lok Sabha constituencies.
Lalu and Paswan contested the last Lok Sabha elections together in Bihar as a part of an alliance along with the Congress and the Left parties. The alliance won the majority of the Lok Sabha seats from Bihar. Both sides appear to have learnt the hard way. The RJD and the LJP fell out before the assembly elections and both parties came a cropper.
With general elections round the corner, the two have once again begun warming up to each other and if they succeed in working out a successful seat-sharing arrangement between themselves and the Congress, they have the potential to unify Yadav, Dalit and Muslim vote in Bihar.
Mulayam Singh Yadav’s presence in the triumvirate is equally significant. Both he and Lalu are India’s top two Yadav leaders who command a substantial following amongst the minorities in Bihar and UP. In the past 10 years, every time the two Yadavs have fought each other, they have ended up dividing their support base amongst the Yadavs and the minorities. The SP chief is fighting the battle of his life to stave off the threat from Mayawati and by joining hands with Lalu and Paswan, he hopes to consolidate the minorities and the yadavs behind him in UP.
Away from the photo ops, the three leaders are taking it a step at a time. They plan to work together on issue before tackling the contentious issue of seat-sharing. “One step at a time, there is some time to go before the elections,” says LJP’s Ramvilas Paswan.
6 months ago