By Express News Service

Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) president Lalu Prasad Yadav on Sunday questioned Congress’ usefulness as an ally. As expected, the former Bihar chief minister drew flak for his comment on Congress leader Bhakta Charan Das. 

He wondered if his party should have left an assembly by-poll seat in the state for the national party so that it could lose even its deposit.

“Kya hota hai Congress ka gathbandhan? (What is this thing about an alliance with the Congress?),” he shot back when asked about a virtual breakup of their alliance in the by-polls to two assembly constituencies over the RJD’s refusal to concede a seat to the national party.

“Should we have given one seat (to Congress) for it to lose? So that it could lose even its deposit?” he said disdainfully.  

The Congress’ poor show in the assembly polls compared to a much better strike rate of the RJD has prompted a section of the leaders of the Bihar party to question the national party’s role in the alliance.

Lalu also mocked Congress leader Bhakta Charan Das, the party’s in-charge for Bihar who had been targeting the RJD.

Das had recently said the Congress was no longer part of the RJD-led alliance in the state and even alleged that the RJD had an understanding with the BJP behind the scene.

“Does he (Das) know anything?” Lalu asked.Lalu’s comments on Das drew strong condemnation from a close aide of Nitish who called the RJD supremo “anti-Dalit.” Ashok Choudhary, a powerful member of the Nitish Kumar-led NDA Cabinet, deplored the RJD leader’s use of a Bihari slang to berate Das, a Dalit, while replying to questions from journalists in the national capital.

Choudhary said: “The RJD has always been anti-Dalit. This has been reflected in the type of language Lalu has used against Bhakt Charan Das. Recently, Tejashwi Yadav skipped a function which was addressed by no less a person than President Ram Nath Kovind. That, too, was indicative of the party’s disregard for Dalit.” 

Yadav’s comments came before he was scheduled to leave for Bihar where Chief Minister Nitish Kumar’s JD(U) is in a direct contest with the RJD to retain the two seats where the bypolls have been necessitated due to the death of their incumbent MLAs.

Yadav has been receiving treatment in the national capital after he was relieved from the AIIMS, and will be landing in Bihar after a long interval during which his son Tejashwi Yadav has led the party for all practical purposes and steered it creditably in the assembly polls.

The former Bihar chief minister said a decision on whether he will campaign for the RJD in the bypolls, scheduled for October 30, will be taken after consultation with doctors.

The RJD’s decision to field its candidate from Kusheshwar Asthan, a seat from where the Congress had contested in the 2020 assembly polls, has rankled the Congress.

The Congress’ poor show in the assembly polls compared to a much better strike rate of the RJD has prompted a section of the leaders of the Bihar party to question the national party’s role in the alliance.

The RJD believes that the Congress had been given more number of seats than its real strength in the state.

(With PTI Inputs)