After several months of speculations and vicious political fighting amongst several parties, Bihar is finally taking a breather. However, the winning NDA camp spearheaded by BJP is still working in overdrive and ensuring that a repeat of the previous tenure doesn’t happen, and therefore, one of the first decisions the party high command has taken is by ditching former Deputy Chief Minister Sushil Kumar Modi and saying a grand ‘au revoir’ to him. The writing was on the wall and Sushil Kumar must have seen it coming but still, he would have a hard time digesting the fact that he has been finally separated from his master Nitish Kumar.
On Sunday, BJP dropped Sushil Modi as leader of its legislature group in Patna, and on Monday Tarkishore Prasad and Renu Devi took over the post of Deputy Chief Ministers by taking oath alongside Nitish Kumar. The change of pecking order by BJP is a carefully crafted strategy to break the unholy nexus between Nitish Kumar and Sushil Modi that paralyzed Bihar for several years, and if left unchecked, would have done damage reminiscent of the Lalu Yadav era of Jungle raj.
The BJP high-command has 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 each other and ensured that the status quo was maintained in the state. Sushil Modi ensured 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.
One of the other reasons for Sushil Modi’s demotion and Tarkishore Prasad’s elevation in the party is the proximity of Katihar, which shares a border with West Bengal. BJP spearheaded by Union Home Minister Amit Shah is looking the breach the fortress of Mamata Banerjee in some six months from now and Prasad could be his X-factor. Modi inadvertently would have been dead weight for the Bengal elections and BJP needs all its resources in place if it wants to win Bengal.
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.
— Atul Mishra (@TheAtulMishra) November 16, 2020
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.
As a result, BJP had to pool in its entire central leadership to take the ground and salvage the state from going into the hands of RJD which it nearly did. Sushil Modi and Nitish Kumar cannot pat their back that they brought NDA into power once again. Both leaders are at the wane of their powers and whatever scheming they were hoping to conjure up amongst themselves has been blown into smoke by the BJP central leadership.
With the ejection of Sushil Modi, one can be hopeful of the prospect that unearthed talent from the BJP Bihar unit can finally rise up and present itself as an alternative to Nitish Kumar in the next assembly elections.