New allegations have cropped up against Nitish Kumar, a day after the Nitish Kumar led JD (U) showed the exit door to ‘master political strategist’ Prashant Kishor.
Media reports have now quoted JD(U) sources as telling that the Bihar CM, Nitish Kumar had been using Prashant Kishor to contact opposition leaders such as AAP supremo, Arvind Kejriwal and DMK chief, M K Stalin. A JD(U) leader has been quoted as saying, “Nitish is fooling everyone including Modi and Shah. He wants to keep all options open and is playing a double game.”
Senior JD(U) leaders have claimed that the Bihar CM has been in touch with the Congress and even Mamata Banerjee.
The allegations sound that much more credible given that Prashant Kishor had continued to work for opposition parties such as the Mamata Banerjee led JD(U) and Kejriwal led AAP in Delhi even after he had joined the JD(U), an NDA ally in the year 2018. He was seen as the number 2 in the JD(U), next only to Nitish Kumar and it really comes as a matter of surprise as to why he was still involved with BJP’s opponents.
According to The Print, the JD(U) supremo was in touch with Rahul Gandhi and RJD chief Lalu Prasad Yadav ahead of the 2019 Lok Sabha polls. The portal has claimed that sources within both the JD(U) and the Congress have confirmed that Kumar was in touch with Rahul and Lalu between the months of June and August 2018. It has quoted a senior Congress leader as saying, “In fact, Nitish and Lalu talked on the phone about a dozen times (Lalu was and still is in judicial custody).” He added, “The formula worked out between the two was that Nitish would continue as CM till the 2020 assembly polls, after which Tejashwi Yadav would take over and Nitish would move to Delhi. Lalu agreed to the reunion but it was Tejashwi who put his foot down stressing that Nitish could not be trusted.”
From such reports, it seems clear that despite having an alliance with the BJP, Nitish Kumar intended to create a Mahagathbandhan. He had gone out of his way to test the possibilities of forming an alliance with the opposition parties but came to the conclusion that it was not viable and that it was wiser to stick to the BJP.
Even Pavan Verma, who has been sacked by JD(U), had also written a letter to the party supremo wherein he stated, “I remember you confessing to me in private on how the current leadership in the BJP has humiliated you. You maintained, on more than one occasion, that the BJP is leading India into a dangerous space.” The contents of his letter also seem to give damning evidence of Nitish Kumar’s attempts to align with the opposition parties.
Nitish Kumar is clearly on the backfoot. He has kicked out his ex-confidante, Prashant Kishor, as through him he seems to have made an attempt to reach out to the opposition parties. Kishor meanwhile tweeted, “Thank you @NitishKumar. My best wishes to you to retain the chair of Chief Minister of Bihar. God bless you.”
Thank you @NitishKumar. My best wishes to you to retain the chair of Chief Minister of Bihar. God bless you.🙏🏼
— Prashant Kishor (@PrashantKishor) January 29, 2020
Kumar wanted to set an example by throwing out Kishor. He has dropped his plans to reach out to other parties, while Kishor might have still wanted Kumar to explore the possibilities of looking beyond the BJP. And this is when the JD (U) chief seems to have deemed it fit to get rid of Kumar. For Kumar, his political survival now largely depends on saving the alliance with the BJP, after exploring all prospects of uprooted the BJP from the center.
The Bihar CM is caught on the backfoot. The reports of revelations that have immediately followed Kishor’s expulsion have put him in a tight spot. This is exactly the BJP could have wished for. Nitish Kumar cannot afford to be adamant from here on.
BJP must seize the opportunity and ensure that it capitalises on Nitish’s desperation to save the alliance. The party has an opportunity of giving fewer seats to its regional ally in Bihar. The BJP could even push for a future CM face in place of Nitish Kumar, who appears to have weakened down in the gave of the recent developments.