Amidst the noise of assembly election results of Haryana and Maharashtra where BJP has been served a stark and cold reality check against its aspirations of winning the states with domination, there is something far more worrying happening in the eastern side of India. Results to 5 assembly seats in Bihar might be giving the alliance of Janta Dal-United (JDU) and BJP a major headache. The elections for the assembly seat by-polls of Kishanganj, Simri Bakhtiarpur, Daraundha, Nathnagar, and Belhar which took place on 21st October has given a long-due wake-up call to Nitish Kumar who has been sluggish and incompetent in recent times to lead the government in Bihar. JDU has been routed on almost all the seats with the frenemy Lalu Yadav’s Rashtriya Janta Dal (RJD) stomping authority with convincing victories on 2 seats in Simri Bakhtiarpur and Belhar. The Nathnagar seat is seeing a see-saw battle where the JDU and RJD candidates are separated by a margin of few thousand votes. One seat has gone to Assaduddin Owaisi’s AIMIM party in the Muslim-dominated Kishanganj whereas Daraundha has gone to the Independent candidate Karanjeet Singh. The by-polls, which are seen as a referendum of the assembly elections prove that ‘Sushan Babu’ has lost his political ground in the state and carrying the alliance on the shoulder of him might be a fatal mistake on the part of BJP. He had very recently given the defeatist slogan of “Thike to hai Nitish Kumar” which proved that one cannot really expect the Nitish Kumar led government to make any substantial amends to the dilapidated situation of the state. Though BJP can take solace from the fact that Lok Janshakti Party’s Prince Raj secured a comfortable win on the Samstipur Lok Sabha seat.
Nitish has switched his allegiances a number of times in the recent past and from severing JDU’s 17-year-old ties with the BJP in 2014 to joining the Mahagathbandhan to finally making a U-turn and returning to NDA’s fold, no one knows where Nitish’s true allegiances lie. If he is not able to get his house in order then a crushing defeat is imminent for the opportunistic leader. There’s a huge political vacuum in the state of Bihar. The party has absolutely nothing to showcase in terms of achievements as the state has lagged even in Centre’s flagship schemes such as PM Awas Yojana and Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREA).
BJP has very agonizingly fallen short of the majority mark in Haryana where it is hovering around 39 till the reports came last and where the magic figure is 46. In Maharashtra too, BJP’s tally of seats has considerably fallen from the previous election and it is a situation that requires introspection and certainly, the Bihar by-polls results would not buoy BJP’s spirits.
BJP would be better advised to dump Nitish at the earliest and attempt to form the government on its own in Bihar. The saffron party must act swiftly and seize this opportunity and deliver good governance in the truest form in Bihar. But for that to happen, BJP must project a face that is credible enough to take on Nitish Kumar. Having ties with JDU might not harm BJP, but it must take a stand and bat for a BJP CM-face in the upcoming elections.