The political scenario in Bihar is changing fast as Lalu Prasad Yadav's Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) once again reached out to Janata Dal (United) chief Nitish Kumar, sources said. This comes amid apparent political hiatus of Tejashwi Yadav following the party's massive defeat in the 2019 Lok Sabha polls.
Ahead of the Bihar assembly polls in 2020, the RJD has been encouraging Nitish Kumar to call off his alliance with the NDA and join the grand alliance or the 'Gathbandhan' again. According to sources, RJD has been trying to mend ties with Kumar and has been constantly rooting him for the leadership in the upcoming assembly elections next year, owing to unavailability of Lalu Prasad. Sources say that several backchannel negotiations have taken place and Kumar is being persuaded by RJD to become the face of opposition.
The previous assembly elections in Bihar saw the RJD and JD(U) forming an alliance. However, the alliance was short-lived as Kumar decided to leave the Gathbandhan and join the NDA. Following the recent Lok Sabha elections, the RJD has been struggling as Tejashwi Yadav has not been around in the state's political scene for a while now. As per sources, the RJD has made a move out of desperation and reached out to Kumar in a bid to garner a strong leadership. Hence, RJD's Shivanand Tiwari has extended a plea to Nitish Kumar to lead the grand alliance in the polls, the sources added.
Another reason for RJD inclination towards Kumar is because of his stature as a politician in the past decade. It is believed that RJD has also asserted its confidence in Kumar, not only at a state level but also at a national level.
Earlier in July, Nitish Kumar, amid the encephalitis crisis had met RJD MLA Abdul Bari Siddiqui at his residence for a brief period of time. As per sources, mistrust had increased then between the BJP and JD(U) and there were talks that the two alliance partners may call off the alliance soon.
The RJD has been going soft on Nitish in the Vidhan Sabha proceedings after the Lok Sabha poll debacle. Even the leader of opposition Tejashwi Yadav who used to be aggressive against Kumar has taken a backseat. This turn of events began after the JDU leader decided not to have a symbolic representation of having one cabinet berth in Modi's cabinet despite having 16 Lok Sabha seats.