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Wednesday, December 6, 2023

Rattled by AIMIM rise, RJD expected to appoint Islamist Abdul Bari Siddiqui as new Bihar chief

The suspense over the RJD’s next Bihar President seems to be over now with the party’s top leadership reportedly choosing veteran leader and Islamist hardliner Abdul Bari Siddiqui for the post. Siddiqui met party’s national President Lalu Prasad Yadav twice in the last few weeks in Delhi and he had finalised his name.

Sources have said that the party will officially announce his name as a state President before November 24 when Lalu Prasad has to go to Singapore for a kidney transplant.

Abdul Bari Siddiqui has in the past taken the fanatical Islamist stand that reciting Bharat’s national song Vande Mataram ‘violated his religious convictions’. He said that individuals who believe in a single God will never sing Vande Mataram. Throwing the findings of the highest court of the land to the winds, the RJD’s senior-most Muslim leader also labelled PM Modi ‘Dangewala CM’ during the 2020 Bihar election campaign. Incidentally, Siddiqui had lost in the 2020 assembly elections and also lost in the 2019 Lok Sabha elections.

According to a party insider, the RJD is losing control over Muslim voters. It was seen during 2020 Assembly election when the Asaddudin Owaisi-led AIMIM note only cut the Muslim votes but also won seats in the Seemanchal area. Such a situation continued in Gopalganj bypoll this month as well when AIMIM candidate Abdul Salam took away 12,000 and turned as “vote katwa (vote-cutter)” for the RJD.

“The RJD, through Abdul Bari Siddiqui, tried to give a message that the party is giving special respect to Muslim leaders. The situation turned ideal for the party as current state President Jagadanand Singh is not ready to retain his post. The RJD wants to keep the Muslim-Yadav equation intact in Bihar but the Muslims are turning out to be weak link for the party after the entry of the AIMIM in the politics of Bihar,” the leader, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said.

Jagadanand Singh has met with Lalu Prasad thrice in the last few weeks, citing his health as the reason for giving up the state President’s post.

Political analysts say that such a move would be in line with the trend of so-called secular parties increasing their pandering of hardline Islamists and evangelists to keep their electoral hopes alive. As more Hindus cutting across jaati (‘caste’) and community lines wake up to the corruption, immorality, ideological bankruptcy and Hinduphobia of these mostly family-run parties, and as radicalization of Muslim polity starts resembling the 1920s era, this trend will only accelerate.

(With IANS inputs)

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