New Delhi: The rift in the Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) and the Lok Janshakti Party (LJP) alliance seems to be widening with the latter deciding to extend support to the Congress in Purnia Assembly by-elections in Bihar even as RJD is teaming up with CPI (M). 

The friction is related to the expected reshuffle of the Union Cabinet. Debates are on about the induction of both LJP supremo Ram Vilas Paswan and RJD chief Lalu Prasad in the Union Cabinet but the Congress’ tilt can be seen more towards Paswan who is considered as a prominent Dalit face in the country.

The Congress party wants to induct Paswan in the Union Cabinet to blunt the edge of Mayawati in the upcoming Assembly elections in UP. Moreover, the Congress leaders in Bihar are also favouring the LJP, but not the RJD. Even this is creating a wedge between Laloo and Paswan.

Both the parties also differ in their approach towards the Forbesganj firing in Araria which is considered a stronghold of LJP MLA Zakir Hussain. This is why the LJP reacted more aggressively to the firing incident as compared to the RJD.

After facing massive defeat in the 2005 Assembly elections, both the parties formed an alliance during the 2009 Lok Sabha polls. Though the RJD-LJP alliance failed to register a significant victory in the 2009 polls, the coalition reaped benefits during the bye-election conducted a few months later.

The June 3 police firing in Araria gave an opportunity to the Opposition to attack the ruling state government. Paswan and the leader of the Opposition, Abdul Bari Siddiqui, together, visited the spot on June 6. But the RJD never adopted a hard stance on the firing issue while the LJP was always on an attacking mode as the party is trying hard to distance the minorities from the National Democratic Alliance (NDA).