Bihar’s four-time CM Nitish Kumar is searching for the lost ground in the aftermath of assembly elections where his party not only lost seats and ended up on the third spot but also lost its allies, who helped Nitish to reign a polarised Bihar for close to a decade and a half. The CM on Sunday met his long-lost friend Narendra Singh at his relative’s wedding and speculations went abuzz that Kumar was preparing his very own ‘Suicide Squad’ to take on BJP which has practically sidelined most of Kumar’s allies.
Kumar met Narendra Singh at a wedding in Patna and both sat down together and had a lengthy conversation. It is imperative to note that Nitish Kumar and Narendra Singh were friends since the JP Movement. Narendra Singh was the State President of LJP in 2005 and was instrumental in breaking up LJP so that MLAs could help Nitish to form the government. Later, he was sent to the Legislative Council and Nitish included him in his cabinet. He remained a minister till 2015. However, with a change in Nitish Kumar’s politics, Singh felt sidelined and he along with HAM Party leader Jitan Ram Manjhi, separated from the JDU.
It can be a tad speculative reading too much into a meeting that occurred during a wedding but the signs before the meeting and after it have indicated that Kumar is indeed up to something sinister.
Sumit Kumar Singh, son of Narendra Singh and an Independent MLA from Chakai Assembly seat is already supporting the NDA government by pledging his allegiance to Nitish Kumar. Some media reports have even suggested that Narendra Singh had a long telephone conversation with Kumar, a week before the wedding meeting.
And it’s not just Narendra Singh that Nitish Kumar has met to rekindle the old spark. Moreover, the RLSP Chief Upendra Kushwaha even met Nitish Kumar last week and the speculations are abuzz ever since then that Kumar is looking to find his crutches in Kushwaha.
“There is a possibility of new political equations in Bihar after both the leaders met on Thursday. We have no regimen with NDA. Upendra Kushwaha and CM Nitish Kumar worked together in the past and if NDA government will work on the line of social justice and welfare of the people of Bihar, we will go with it,” said Bhola Sharma, official spokesperson of RLSP to IANS.
Upendra Kushwaha, once the closest side of Nitish Kumar, had entered electoral politics in 2000 by winning Jandaha seat. He was the leader of Opposition when Samata Party merged with the JD(U) and emerged as the largest opposition party in 2004. However, he was expelled from the party in 2007 and floated Rashtriya Samata Party in 2009. He again made a comeback to JDU and was made a Rajya Sabha MP. In 2013, he left JDU again and floated Rashtriya Lok Samata Party (RLSP), as we know it today.
In the 2014 General elections, RLSP won three seats whilst contesting under the umbrella of NDA and as a result, Kushwaha was made Union Minister of State in the Human Resource Development Ministry. However, with the entry of JDU into NDA’s fold once again, RLSP and Kushwaha got sidelined. In 2019, RLSP broke up with NDA and joined the Mahagathbandhan alliance. That couldn’t last long either, as the RLSP defected and joined hands with AIMIM and BSP to form a coalition to fight the 2020 Assembly Elections.
By luring Kushwaha to his fold, Nitish Kumar is looking to rejig the Luv-Kush formula (Kurmi-Kushwaha). Add to it, the meeting with Narendra Singh and one can infer that Nitish Kumar is trying to build a team of lieutenants that can help him extend his political career. However, BJP is far too strong this time and if Nitish Kumar thinks that the saffron party is any pushover, then he is sadly mistaken.