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Lalu offers Dalit icon Mayawati a berth in Rajya Sabha

Her own party doesn’t have the required number to re-nominate her

Gulf News

Patna: The ruling Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) in Bihar headed by Lalu Prasad Yadav is planning to nominate Dalit icon and Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) chief Mayawati to Rajya Sabha, the Upper House of Parliament. The six-year RS term of Mayawati expires in April next year but her party doesn’t have the required number to re-nominate her.

The RJD dropped enough hints about this when the party announced its strategy to expand its base among the Dalit class. “People from UP (Uttar Pradesh) should take a lesson or two from Lalu Prasad. Now, there will be an alliance of Dalits and backwards,” announced the RJD in its Facebook post on Thursday.

Right now, the RJD which returned to power after a gap of a decade had been banking on the support of the Muslim-Yadav voters, but now Prasad Prasad wants to get the support of the Dalit icon as well to consolidate his party base further.

Mayawati is not in a position to reach the Upper House on her own. At present, the BSP has only 19 members in the recently-elected UP state assembly while she requires the support of at least 37 state lawmakers. Under such a tricky situation, her re-nomination to the Rajya Sabha could be possible only when someone supports her. The RJD already looks willing to go the extra mile to get her support.

Observers say the idea is to kill two birds with one stone — to expand the RJD vote base among the downtrodden community and also to forge opposition unity ahead of the next general elections scheduled in 2019. The RJD wants to dislodge the ruling Narendra Modi government at all costs and hence has gone all out to bring all the opposition parties together on one platform to give a unitedly fight the BJP in the next polls.

As part of this move, the RJD has announced a massive rally against the BJP in Patna’s Gandhi Maidan in August this year. All the prominent leaders across the country have been invited for the rally nicknamed “BJP Bhagao, Desh Bachao Rally” (dethrone BJP to save the nation). West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee and Mayawati have already accepted the invitation.