In what comes as the clear signs of emerging rifts between the BJP and JDU, it has been reported that senior BJP leaders including deputy chief minister, BJP leader, Sushil Kumar Modi, were absent during Dusshera celebrations at the state capital’s iconic Gandhi Maidan where Nitish Kumar was the chief guest.
The Bihar CM was the chief guest at this event. Therefore, the absence of Bihar BJP leaders at the event manifests the sharp political differences within the BJP-JDU alliance.
What makes this event even more significant is the fact that this comes at the heels of a war of words between the parties of the two leaders following the flood situation in Patna, Bihar.
Senior BJP leader, Giriraj Singh had said that the Nitish Kumar government was responsible for the mismanagement of the flood situation in Patna. Expressing concern about the situation he had also said that the Bihar CM “should take responsibility for it (flood situation).”
The flood situation in Patna had put life out of gear in the state capital and the city ended up with knee-deep waters with people struggling to meet even their everyday needs. Officials said that Patna witnessed such waterlogging for the first time since 1975.
It must be noted that since the 2019 Lok Sabha election results, there have been repeated demands for one thing- removal of Nitish Kumar from the CM chair.
The party workers of BJP want the party to go ahead alone for the 2020 assembly election or make JDU a junior partner, and therefore have the chief ministerial candidate from BJP.
Last month, senior BJP leader and former Union minister Sanjay Paswan echoed the sentiments of party workers and said Nitish Kumar “should now move to the Centre” and leave Bihar to “BJP and the second-rung JDU leadership”.
Bihar CM Nitish Kumar, through years of deft political maneuvering, had managed to position himself as ‘Sushasan Babu’ as a counter against the Jungle Raj practised by Lalu Prasad Yadav led RJD.
His image as the ‘Sushasan Babu’ of Bihar stands severely battered after his government’s inept handling of recent tragedies- encephalitis and floods.
What is also important to mention here is that the Nitish Kumar led party also came up with a rather defeatist campaign strategy in the run-up to the Bihar Legislative elections scheduled to take place around October next year. The JDU slogan reading, “Kyun Kare Vichar, Thike to hai Nitish Kumar”, which happens to be one of the most poorly conceived campaign slogans in recent history.
Thereafter, it doesn’t really make much sense for the BJP to continue in alliance with the JDU especially because the party is probably enjoying unprecedented popularity in the country.
From 2019 general election verdict, it is very clear that there is an electorate tilt towards PM Modi. It was in his name that LJP and JDU too registered impressive numbers during the Lok Sabha polls.
It’s time for the BJP to take control of the situation and stake the claim for the Chief Minister’s chair to bring a new era of development in Bihar.
However, with the rift between the Nitish Kumar led JDU and the BJP becoming clearer, it seems that the BJP might have to go alone.
It must also be noted that Nitish Kumar is seen as one of the most opportunistic politicians in the history of independent India.
Nitish has switched his allegiances several 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 allegiance lies.
After the 2019 Lok Sabha polls, the JDU has given several indications which suggest that not all may be good between the BJP and the JDU.
The first signs came after the party’s refusal to join the Union Council of Ministers, even though BJP and JDU had contested Lok Sabha polls together in Bihar through a mutually agreed seat-sharing arrangement. The stern opposition to the Triple Talaq Bill also exposed the stark and probably unmanageable differences between the ideologies of the two parties.
The JDU’s politically untenable stance on several issues combined with Nitish Kumar’s track record on alliances do suggest the inevitable.
It seems that Nitish Kumar who has witnessed several political fallouts in the past might just be bracing up for another political break up. The BJP too shouldn’t be too keen on preventing this fallout because with its immense popularity across the country, including Bihar which shows no signs of relenting in the near future.