Nitish Kumar, the secular icon of Bihar who in 2014 dreamt to become Prime Minister of the country, is now seeking PM Modi’s support to retain the CM chair of Bihar. In 2013, Nitish Kumar led JD(U) broke away with BJP when the saffron party declared Modi as Prime Ministerial candidate to distance himself from the so-called “communal” leader whose support he is seeking to become CM for the fourth time.
The BJP- JD(U) coalition is looking weak in the run-up for 2020 assembly elections due to the prevailing unpopularity of incumbent CM Nitish Kumar, who proved to be on of the most incomplete Chief Ministers in handling Covid-19 induced migrant crisis.
The Coronavirus Pandemic and the consequent migrant crisis became a huge political issue that is ultimately going to make a huge impact on the state of Bihar in the upcoming Assembly polls—as the Nitish Kumar government seemed altogether apathetic towards the cause of incoming migrants and the long ailing socio-economic structure of the state.
Low agricultural income on which the majority of the state depends and minuscule industrial base has resulted in large labour migration from the state in the past four decades.
As a result, Bihar’s economy continues to be significantly dependent on the economic growth of industrialized states like Maharashtra, Gujarat, and Tamil Nadu, where the poor labourer despite the back-breaking work does not forget to send a portion of the money back home. This repatriated money forms the bedrock of most Bihari households.
Nothing has changed much under ‘Sushasan Babu’ from what it was under Lalu Prasad Yadav’s infamous ‘Jungle raj’. The socio-economic disparities still exist and on the contrary, continue to grow. The migrant labourers seem to be the hard-hit like always.
The people of Bihar are fed up with Nitish Kumar as he could not deliver up to people’s expectations despite being CM for three terms. Now he needs the backing of the Prime Minister to win over the CM chair. Modi was not expected to campaign in Bihar but given the fact NDA alliance looks very weak, the JD(U) asked for it. Interestingly, six years ago Nitish tried to compete with Modi as a leader of the united opposition and today he could not save even the CM chair on his own.
Chirag Paswan already left NDA to fight on his own as he wants to capitalize on anti-incumbency of Nitish Kumar. The leader who was once projected as an alternative to PM Modi by the left-liberal establishment is now among the most unpopular CMs in the country.
For the last three decades, the state has been ruled by Lalu Yadav and Nitish Kumar- the two leaders who learnt politics from the socialist icon Jayprakash Narayan and emerged as the poles of Bihar politics in the post-emergency era.
The state has witnessed three-decades-long povertarian socialist politics, which resulted in the state having the lowest per capita income in the country at 40,000 rupees annually- less than one-third of the national average.
Bihar is looking for a change- and it would come from a new generation leader like Chirag Paswan (36) who grew up in a post-liberalisation India, and understands the modern political economy.
As Chirag Paswan has separated from the NDA, JD(U) fears that he will cut a large number of seats only to ally with BJP and kick Nitish Kumar out of the equation. Therefore, JD(U) has convinced BJP for the campaign of PM Modi to increase the chances of victory of NDA.