Lalu pulls an emotional chord for victory of opposition presidential candidate
Patna: Rashtriya Janata Dal president Lalu Prasad Yadav has played a clever politics by appealing to Lok Janashakti Party president and union minister Ram Vilas Paswan to vote for the opposition candidate in the presidential election next month.
He has pulled an emotional chord and appealed to him to vote for this nominee because " she ( candidate Meira Kumar) is a Bihari and Dalit ki Beti".
Lalu, while talking to a news channel, on Friday, has also sought to convey that the National Democratic Alliance had not selected Ram Nath Kovind, who will fight against Meira Kumar , because he is a Dalit but because the alliance wanted to please members of his sub-caste which is influential in Gujarat and it slated to go to the polls by the end of this year.
Former Bihar chief minister who is facing a trial in a corruption case and whose family members have been charged with acquiring Benami properties worth hundreds of crores of rupees has accused the NDA of being patisan in some cases during his tenure as governor of Bihar.
This statement runs counter to the statement of his colleague and chief minister of the state Nitish Kumar who has called him a non-partisan man and praised him for his " neutrality". He has said that it is one of the reasons for his support to him even though he is candidate of a rival group.
To Lalu this support is a " historic wonder" and " worth re-considering ". He is meeting Nitish here in the evening and will appeal to him personally to side with the opposition candidate. Nitish, however, has so far refused to reconsider his decision.
The Congress, Nitish's other coalition partner in the state, too is likely to put pressure on him. State unit chief of the party Ashok Choudhary is also scheduled to meet him in the evening at a party.
The decision by the 17- party opposition group to put up former speaker of the Lok Sabha Meira Kumar as the presidential candidate was, however, a foregone conclusion.
The group led by the Congress had no option but to go for a Dalit for the post. There are a few reasons for it. One, selection of any non-Dalit would have been a poor match. Two, any other decision would have been opposed by many in the group.
Her name was in circulation for the past couple of days , in fact, soon after announcement by the BJP.
She has got a few advantages . Like Ram Nath Kovind she has been associated with Bihar. She was born in Bihar, unlike him, and is daughter of popular Dalit leader, Jagjivan Ram, whom late prime Minister Indira Gandhi used to address as "Babuji".
Kovind hails from Uttar Pradesh and was associated with Bihar because of his appointment as a governor two years ago. He has resigned a couple of days ago.
However, all this will not cut much ice as she has not got the number required for the election. The NDA has got more than sixty per cent of the total votes in support.
The election will be held on July 17, a week before the retirement of Pranab Mukherjee, the present President.