|NITISH KUMAR, CM, BIHAR|
|NARENDRA MODI, CM, GUJRAT|
It is a matter of time when JD (U) formally announce its decision to break the alliance with the BJP, may be on June 15 next. In politics, it is difficult sometimes to retract from a pronounced stand on issues even when the decision hurts the Party or the Leader, politically speaking. In this case, Nitish on more than one occasion has made it clear that in no case he or his Party would accept Narendra Modi as a Prime Ministerial candidate of the BJP for the next general elections. It is loud and clear by now that in case BJP is able to win sufficient number of seats in the next Lok Sabha and in a position to form government, none other than Modi will be Prime Minister. Where is any option for Nitish now?
Without the BJP, Nitish will not be in a position to lead his Party to victory in the next elections. It is likely that he may survive as chief minister given the number of seats his Party has in the Bihar Assembly. In the House of 243, the JD(U) has 118 members, short of 4 seats for a majority of 122. With 6 independent MLAs, Nitish hopes to retain his majority in the Assembly. But this is of less consequence vis a vis the political stage at the national level.
Nitish’s base is on decline in Bihar as the outcome of Maharajganj by-elections for Lok Sabah shows, the changing caste equations in Bihar does not favour Nitish. The upper castes with a sizeable number of OBCs are solidly behind the BJP. The extremely backward castes have aligned with Lalu Yadav as the voting pattern in Maharajganj shows where RJD candidate won by a handsome margin. The only consolation for the JD(U) is that it will be able to retain its hold over the Muslims by opposing Narendra Modi. But a mere support of minority voters is no guarantee of win in the elections.
The talk of third front or federal front will have relevance for Nitish only when his Party is able to get good number of seats in the next Lok Sabha. The regional satraps who are in the process of coming together on a political platform can maneuver things only when they have the number. And the one who has maximum number of seats will call the shots. In the present Lok Sabha, JD (U) has 19 members from Bihar that sends 40 members to Parliament’s Lower House. In case the JD(U)’s tally does not reach double digit, Nitish’s role in national politics would not be of much importance.
In the given situation will Nitish find another friend and ally to tie up for the next contest? This point is being discussed in political circles. The Congress is weighing the pros and cons of going for a pre-poll alliance in Bihar and Jharkhandp. Nitish is a better option for the Congress in Bihar compared to Lalu-Paswan combine. But will Nitish embrace a discredited Congress whose fortune are fast declining in the wake of series of charges of corruption. The UPA government is replete with scandals. With what face Nitish would go to the people seeking their mandate. At the end it is Nitish Kumar and his party the JD(U) who will be the biggest loser in the game.
The general mood of people of Bihar is to vote for the BJP to replace the corrupt Congress government in New Delhi with NDA Government that would be led by someone who is decisive and strong. Narendra Modi fits the bill.
~R. K. Sinha