New Delhi: Out of power in Bihar for the
last five years, RJD, whose supremo Lalu Prasad galvanised
the backward classes and put them in the power structure in
the 90s, is all set to reach out to upper castes in Bihar.
Prasad, who vacated the chief minister`s chair in favour
of his wife in the wake of court cases against him and became
a minister at the Centre, now says his party is not
against the upper castes and wants to work for their uplift
along with that of OBCs, Dalits and Muslims.
RJD will contest the Bihar Assembly polls, expected to
be held by November, in alliance with Lok Janshakti Party of
Ramvilas Paswan and a pre-poll tie up with Congress looks
unlikely as it wants to plough a lonely furrow.
Viewing JD-U and BJP as main rivals in the upcoming
Assembly elections later this year, Prasad said in an
interview that he has decided to go beyond his traditional
vote bank of OBCs, Dalits and Muslims and woo the upper castes
who have been upset with him for his reported barbs against
them at Begusarai about 10 years ago.
He insisted that he never made any comments against the
upper castes and the statements attributed to him were "false"
and "concocted" by his political rivals.
The reported comments of Prasad were seen aimed at
provoking the backwards and Dalits to target four upper castes
-- Brahmin, Bhumihar, Rajput and Lala or Kayasthas.
"I am not against upper castes and have never hurt their
interests. A few people tried to pit upper castes against me
to suit their political interests," the former CM
"I believe in taking everybody along. Everybody from
Bihar should be united. That is my appeal," he said, adding
his poll plank would be to work for progress of all.
Expressing confidence of getting upper caste votes in
the coming elections, the RJD chief said, "They have
understood who is against them and have by now also made
comparisons after Nitish Kumar came to power."
RJD, which ruled Bihar for 15 consecutive years from
1990, was defeated in the 2005 Assembly elections by BJP and
JD-U. Prasad was chief minister from 1990 to 1997 and his wife
Rabri Devi succeeded him after he had to go to jail in fodder
In the 243-member Bihar Assembly, RJD is the second
largest party with 56 seats. The ruling parties, JD-U and BJP
have 81 and 54 seats, respectively. Ramvilas Paswan-led LJP has
12 seats and Congress 10.
"We will win this election and form a government in the
next election... Lalu`s genie will once again come out from
ballot boxes," the RJD chief claimed.