Rashtriya Janata Dal formed in 1997 is an offshoot of the erstwhile Janata Dal. It is a regional party with strong presence in Bihar. Due to legacy issues it has some presence in Jharkhand as well. It’s leader Lalu Prasad Yadav is a product of Jai Prakash Narayan movement. His party was in power in state from 1990-2005. Lalu was Chief Minister from 1990-1997. With his name figuring in fodder scam he made his wife Rabri Devi the CM. Lalu was Railway Minister in UPA I and branded as having turned around Indian Railways giving lecture even in Harvard.
He missed by a whisker to become Prime Minister of India when Janata Dal formed govt. at the center with support of Congress and Left Front. Fodder scam allegations plus opposition from Mulayam (another Yadav) defeated his dream. His support base is mostly Muslims and Yadavs.
In 2005 he lost assembly elections to Janata Dal – BJP combine and has been out of power in state since then. In 2010 his party was reduced to mere 22 seats in 248 member assembly. Lalu was convicted recently in fodder scam and sent to jail. Under the new rules he is debarred from fighting Lok Sabha elections. Just when people wrote him off he received bail and is back. Nitish tried to split his party with 13 of his 22 MLAs deserting him, he has however won 9 of them back. Paswan has left his alliance and there is revolt in the party by Ram Kripal Yadav for giving his seat to Misa (Lalu’s daughter).
Historical Performance of RJD in Bihar (Lok Sabha)
|% of Bihar Seats
The party’s best performance was in 2004 when he entered into a grand alliance with Congress and Paswan’s Lok Janshakti Party. In 2009 he fought Lok Sabha elections alone without Congress and received a drubbing (4 seats).
Possibilities in Lok Sabha
Lalu was trying to stitch a RJD-LJP-Congress alliance. Paswan left because of delays in forming alliance and seat-sharing. Congress wanted to ally with him but his involvement in corruption scams could dent Rahul’s anti-corruption fight. So it was dilly-dallying. Finally he has stitched an alliance with Congress and Pawar’s NCP. Pollsters predict 5-15 seats for RJD. Politicalbaaba estimates 10 seats for RJD. He will definitely improve upon his 2009 performance.