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Bihar: Is BJP Scared of Lalu's Return to Active Politics Ahead of 2024 Polls?

This is a hot topic in the state after CBI moved the Supreme Court seeking the cancellation of Yadav's bail in cases linked to the alleged fodder scam.
Former Bihar chief minister and Rashtriya Janata Dal leader Lalu Prasad Yadav(PTI)

Rashtriya Janata Dal leader Lalu Prasad Yadav. Image Courtesy: PTI

Is Bharatiya Janata Party-led (BJP) Central government scared of Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) chief Lalu Prasad Yadav, who has been trying hard in recent days to ensure a strong opposition alliance of Indian National Developmental Inclusive Alliance (I.N.D.I.A) to challenge Prime Minister Narendra Modi in 2024 Lok Sabha elections. 

This is being discussed in political circles after the Central Bureau of Investigation moved the Supreme Court (SC) seeking the cancellation of Yadav's bail in cases linked to the alleged fodder scam.

At a time when Yadav has bounced back to political prominence ahead of crucial next year's General elections, CBI has moved SC to cancel his bail; it is widely seen here as part of the BJP-led Central government's plan to target him. 

Ironically, some senior BJP leaders in recent weeks demanded to cancel Yadav's bail for participating in active politics. 

There is no doubt Yadav has been showing a keen interest in uniting

opposition leaders. He attended the first opposition unity meeting in Patna, followed by the second in Bengaluru. In all likelihood, Yadav is set to attend a third meeting in Mumbai, which is considered important as the name of the convenor of I.N.D.I.A is likely to be decided there. 

Yadav has been actively commenting on various issues concerning ongoing efforts for opposition unity and targeting the saffron party and the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS).

People across the state see through CBI's action to cancel Yadav's bail. 

"Yadav's return to active politics is disliked by BJP and Modi and targeting him again to send him to jail as CBI seeking to cancel his bail)," Kamlesh Kumar Rai, a fruit vendor in Patna. 

Rai told NewsClick that the central agencies only target the opposition party leaders on the directive of those in power.

"In the last nine years, not a single leader of BJP and its allies was targeted by central agencies."

Dhananjay Singh, a motor mechanic, echoed similar sentiments.

"BJP is uncomfortable with Yadav due to his political plan to defeat Modi in 2024. Yadav enjoys a rapport with all top opposition leaders. He is doing his best to keep them intact and chalk out a strategy to challenge Modi unitedly. The latest CBI move is to target him".

Singh told NewsClick that after being granted bail, Yadav is not violating anything by showing a keen interest in politics. 

"He is still a popular leader and doing politics. There is nothing wrong with it."

Naushad Ahmad, a private school teacher, said this is not new, as the BJP-led Central government has singled out opposition leaders. 

"This will go against the saffron party because people are struggling for survival due to price rises, growing joblessness and rampant corruption. We knew that corruption is rampant everywhere, but central agencies target only those who oppose the BJP."

In early August, Yadav met Congress leader Rahul Gandhi and discussed the way forward for I.N.D.I.A.

"In the last month, Yadav had met other opposition leaders that created panic in the BJP camp. BJP is afraid of Yadav, who is capable of harming the saffron party," a senior RJD leader said.

Sensing a political challenge from Yadav, one after another, BJP leaders objected to Yadav, who was convicted in a fodder scam and is currently on bail on health grounds, being active in politics. 

Political watchers here said BJP and its allies are not only worried over Yadav's return to politics, but they have also exposed their restlessness due to the presence of the veteran politician. 

According to BJP leaders in Bihar, Yadav is capable of uniting the opposition and that will pose a big challenge to the BJP-led alliance in the state as well as at the Centre.

"A free and active Yadav in politics is not good for the BJP because he understands how to make our task difficult. We easily won the 2019 Lok Sabha polls and the 2020 Bihar Assembly polls when Yadav was behind bars," a BJP leader said.

Senior RJD leader Bhai Virendra claimed it was not only Sushil Kumar Modi, but Prime Minister Narendra Modi too feared Yadav and his social justice politics. 

"The BJP has not forgotten how Yadav stopped Rath Yatra and arrested LK Advani for violating communal harmony and peace. They fear Yadav as he is the only leader who has been directly fighting against communal forces and never compromised on secular politics," the RJD leader said.

Yadav, known for his rare acumen in ground politics, loudly announced repeatedly to defeat BJP and oust the Modi-led government thrice in the last ten days. 

On August 15, Yadav pointed out that it was the last time Modi hoisted the national flag at Lal Qila because he would be ousted next year. 

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