After resisting JD(U)’s demand for weeks, RJD chief Lalu Prasad today agreed to naming Nitish Kumar as chief ministerial face of the ‘secular alliance’ for Bihar elections, saying he was ready to drink “poison” to crush the “cobra” of communalism.
“I want to assure the secular forces and the people of India that in this battle of Bihar, I am ready to gulp everything. Hum har tarah ka ghoont peene ko taiyar hain. Hum har tarah ka zehar peene ko taiyar hain. (I am ready to drink all types of poison),” said the RJD boss at a news conference where Kumar, friend-turned-foe-turned-friend, was declared the chief ministerial candidate of the RJD-JD(U) alliance.
“I am determined to crush the hood of this snake, this cobra of communalism,” he asserted, referring to BJP, which is certain to go all out to wrest Bihar from JD(U).
Earlier, Samajwadi Party president Mulayam Singh Yadav, who is seen to have brokered the pact, said he was happy about the “unity” reached between the two Bihar satraps.
“I am very happy about the unity of Lalu Prasad and Nitish Kumar. Kumar will be the chief ministerial candidate for Bihar. Laluji has proposed Nitish Kumar’s name for the chief ministership. Laluji said he will campaign.
“There are no differences and we will not allow any differences to crop up,” Yadav said while declaring that they would fight together to root out “communal forces”.
Lalu too sought to downplay his differences with Kumar on the chief ministership issue, insisting there was “no dispute”.
The RJD leader recalled how he had backed JD(U) in the Rajya Sabha elections in the state.
Lalu, according to close watchers of Bihar politics, was opposed to Kumar being declared the chief ministerial face of the alliance lest it would annoy his Yadav castemen, who feel the JD(U) leader neglected them during his stint in power.
Yadavas, who constitute about 14 per cent of Bihar’s voters, form the bedrock of RJD’s support base.