Well this one comes from Patna and it seems that finally Lalu has been forced to worry a little over the coming Lok Sabha polls... and no i'm not talking about the seat sharing confusion with the LJP (we'll come to that later) but about his "gift" to the people of Bihar through no one else but the Chief Minister and arch rival Nitish Kumar. What is the soundest proof of a politician gaining popularity in Bihar? Its when Lalu himself comes down to meet you.
Well that is what happened in Patna yesterday i.e. 27th Feb when Lalu came calling on his " छोटा भाई" or younger brother Nitish and being generous on the victims of the Kosi floods by giving him a cheque of a little over 40 crores. The aid comes officially through the Railways and Lalu's party funds and one wonders what took so much time in it to come coz the floods did happen last year you know. Beyond the moolah there were also interesting soundbytes that Lalu offered to the media (as always)... when asked whether he'd wished Nitish good luck for the elections, Lalu shot back that Nitish wasn't contesting the elections at all. :P
Analysts here are viewing this as an implied message to Lalu's votebank, which had deserted him in the last Assembly elections, to now return to the fold for the Lok Sabha polls. Lalu has impliedly sent across the statement that its not Nitish he's contesting against after all... ( its the party, silly!) Obviously Mr. Yadav is not trying to be anti Nitish for the Lok Sabha elections. With still no agreement in sight between the RJD and Paswan's LJP here in the state, the least Lalu can hope for is the JD(U) and the BJP bringing forth Nitish here on the scene.
But, that is easier said than done as no doubt Laluji expects, the BJP-JD(U) combine is in full preparation of kickstarting the election campaign and while Shatrughan Sinha can create a tantrum over the Patna Sahib seat its still far less complicated than what the other camp is in.
As far as popularity goes, Nitish is at an all time high by presenting an unprecedentedly balanced budget that has been praised in all circles here... it just gives one satisfaction to note that even Lalu has come to acknowledge the fact now.