Earlier this month, he managed to lure four of the five Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) MLAs with ministerial berths into his wife Rabri Devi’s cabinet. This proved for the umpteenth time that Dalit politics in the state could hardly be independent and was forever beholden to Laloo’s brand of Yadavised backward caste politics. Last week the Laloo magic was at work again. He engineered a split in the JD(U), delivering a body blow to the NDA in Bihar. Four of the 12 JD(U) legislators quit the party and formed the JD (Jayaprakash), offering "issue-based" support to the RJD government. Though the group has "no immediate plan to merge with the RJD", sources say the merger is a foregone conclusion. If and when it happens, the RJD’s strength would be 123 in the 243-member assembly, giving it a clear majority on its own.
The leader of the splinter group, Sashi Kumar Rai, who has been a minister in a Laloo government, said he and others who quit were feeling suffocated in the NDA. Recently, the Samata Party and the JD(U) had decided to form a joint legislature front to put pressure on the BJP to do away with its "big brother" attitude. But the effort was nipped in the bud by Samata leader and Union minister of railways Nitish Kumar. This triggered the defections.
A JD(U) leader has, meanwhile, taken potshots at the splinter group and ironically suggested that they call themselves Janata Dal (Laloo).