The BJP’s Central Election Committee on Friday decided to field former Bihar deputy chief minister Sushil Kumar Modi for the Rajya Sabha seat that fell vacant last month after the death of LJP leader Ram Vilas Paswan. The duo of Modi-Shah has gone ahead with the decision, when for the longest time it was anticipated that it would be Chirag Paswan or his mother that could be given the nod by BJP, despite LJP breaking up from the state alliance in the build-up to the assembly elections. At first glance, the decision might look like a snub to LJP and Paswan but something had to give to send the old patriarch Sushil Kumar Modi far away from the Bihar BJP state unit.
Chirag Paswan noting the developments from the BJP side sounded rather mild in his reaction which further explained that even he was somewhat happy that BJP got rid of Sushil Modi.
“The seat belonged to the BJP and it is for the party to decide which candidate from which party to field in the by-election,” Paswan said. But added, “We had to make a choice between accepting the NDA’s offer of only 15 seats despite being a party with six members in the Lok Sabha and one in the Rajya Sabha, or engage in a friendly fight to preserve our honour.”
In the lead up to the three-phase assembly elections, LJP President had pledged his unswerving fidelity to BJP and PM Narendra Modi. However, he was particularly charged up against JDU leader Nitish Kumar and former Deputy CM Sushil Kumar Modi. On several occasions, Chirag made his animosity known for Sushil Modi on the public stage.
The last date of filing the nominations is December 3, they will be scrutinized on December 4. The election shall take place from 9 am- 4 pm on December 14, with the counting of votes scheduled to commence at 5 pm on the same day. If he is elected to the Upper House of the Parliament, Sushil Modi’s term will last until April 2, 2024. And therefore, BJP will have more than enough time to unearth new jewels from the state unit that had so far been pushed behind by an egotistical Sushil Modi.
The BJP high-command had already destroyed the ‘access of convenience’ that both, Nitish Kumar and Sushil Modi had brokered amongst themselves. The two old leaders had a symbiotic relationship where both fed off each other and ensured that the status quo was maintained in the state. Sushil Modi safeguarded that he kept sweeping Nitish Kumar’s blunders under the rug whereas ‘Sushashan Babu’ made sure that Sushil Modi had the lollipop of Deputy CM all along in his hands.
It would not be a hyperbole to suggest that after Lalu’s ouster from the state, the sacking of Sushil Modi is the second watershed moment for the people of Bihar. The cycle would only be completed with the purging of Nitish Kumar but with no viable alternatives within the BJP flanks—thanks to Sushil Modi’s python-like grip over the state unit that didn’t allow a single BJP leader to blossom—Nitish Kumar is likely to carry his bat through his fourth tenure.
Sushil Kumar Modi had the responsibility to create an independent identity for BJP in the state that was devoid of any influence of Nitish Kumar but instead, the BJP leader became an unswerving lieutenant for Kumar and created a rigid party structure with an invisible force field—much like Congress, which didn’t allow the second rung of BJP leaders to come through the ranks.