Tejashwi has upset the calculations of the saffron party by raising real issues of employment and development for which the BJP has no answer
Shaheen Nazar | NEW DELHI
Bihar appears to be slipping out of the hands of BJP and its main ally, Nitish Kumar’s Janata Dal (United).
At least, Union Minister Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi’s attack on Congress points towards this fact. Addressing a press conference at BJP headquarters in Delhi on Sunday, Naqvi accused the Congress of allying with “radical organisations like Jamaat-e-Islami and Popular Front of India (PFI)” in poll-bound Bihar and sought to know if RJD leader Tejashwi Yadav and his party are also part of such “an understanding”.
Naqvi’s assertions are based on lies. Neither the Jamaat nor the PFI is a political party. Naqvi has also referred to the Welfare Party of India (WPI), supposedly a front of the Jamaat. But WPI, a small political party formed nine years ago, has no unit in Bihar and it is not contesting any seat or even supporting any party.
PFI’s political front Social Democratic Party of India (SDPI) is participating in the three-phase Bihar assembly elections with the first phase slated for October 28. But again, it has formed an alliance with some smaller parties which are not part of the Mahagathbandhan comprising the Congress, RJD and Left parties.
“For the convenience of the Congress, Jamaat-e-Islami has formed a political party, probably named it Welfare Party,” alleged Naqvi. Welfare Party president SQR Ilyas termed Naqvi’s statement as “frustration” of the Bharatiya Janata Party.
“The BJP appears to be in panic after seeing massive crowds at the rallies of Tejashwi Yadav. The RJD leader has upset the calculations of the saffron party by raising real issues of employment and development for which the BJP has no answer. It has been denied its usual plank of polarising voters along communal lines,” Ilyas said.
BJP’s attack on Congress has come just two days after CPI(M) made a similar charge against the Congress. The Left party’s attack is also related to the election, but it is related to civic body polls in Kerala.
The party, which leads the ruling Left Democratic Alliance (LDF) in Kerala, on Friday accused the Congress of “surrendering” its secular stance before the Indian Union Muslim League (IUML), stating that it is now “led by Jamaat-e-Islami’s ideology”.
The accusation has a background. The Congress-led United Democratic Alliance (UDA) has decided to have electoral adjustments with some smaller parties, including the Welfare Party, for the coming local body elections in the southern state.
CPI(M) Politburo member and party’s state secretary Kodiyeri Balakrishnan told the media that IUML had “strongly opposed” Jamaat-e-Islami in the past. “Now, IUML has abandoned that stand and has no reservations to work with Jamaat-e-Islami, which wants to establish an Islamic country. It is parallel to the stand of RSS, which aims at Hindu Rashtra. The decision of the Congress to work with WPI would have far-reaching consequences,” he said.
Balakrishnan criticised the Congress which, according to him, “has surrendered its secular outlook before IUML for a few votes”.
Interestingly, CPI(M) leader criticised the Congress for aligning with a Muslim party a day after welcoming in the LDF fold the Jose K Mani faction of regional Christian party Kerala Congress (M).
Welfare Party’s Ilyas told Clarion India that his party had had a similar seat sharing arrangement with Left parties in five districts of Kerala in 2015 local bodies election. This had helped the party win 42 seats.
He said seat sharing among political parties was quite normal. According to Ilyas, his party was in negotiation with both Congress and Left parties for the upcoming Assembly elections in West Bengal. “In Kerala, the Congress and Left parties are rivals. But in West Bengal, they are going to fight jointly. And we are going to have some sort of arrangement with both,” he said.