Narendra Modi as enemy No. 1, RJD chief eyes Congress ties
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The BJP's impressive show in the recent Assembly polls seems to have led the RJD to redraw its poll strategy, with the party looking at BJP's Narendra Modi and not Bihar CM Nitish Kumar as "enemy number one".
RJD is buoyed by party chief Lalu Prasad getting bail in a fodder scam case and coming out of jail. Lalu, who travelled to Patna by road Tuesday, made the party line amply clear.
Lalu Prasad's wife Rabri Devi had also indicated that Nitish's party JD(U) would be nowhere in the top three in the Lok Sabha polls. There is a belief in the RJD that "raising the secularism pitch and targeting Narendra Modi" would help it bounce back and make an alliance with Congress likely, more so with JD(U) non-committal on joining hands with Congress.
The RJD has left it to the Congress to decide. A close aide of Lalu Prasad told The Indian Express: "Recent poll results have shown that Modi is a surely a factor. If Congress has to think of some leaders to give a befitting reply to Narendra Modi, Laluji should be the frontrunner and can be a star campaigner in Bihar and elsewhere. It is up to Congress to take a call on alliance".
He defended Rahul Gandhi saying the Congress vice-president must not be blamed as failures are part of politics. Sources said RJD planned to "remind people how Prasad was missed in Bihar politics during his incarceration".
"Laluji could have taken a flight to reach Patna. But it is a great occasion to know public sentiments," said a senior RJD leader accompanying him to Patna. Asked if it was part of the RJD strategy to "ignore" Nitish and target the BJP, RJD spokesperson Iliyas Hussain said: "We have to go by ground realities. It is true that we have been treating BJP as our prime rival. Though it was Nitish Kumar, who proved our nemesis in past elections but present political reality asks for need to attack Narendra Modi".