Is this going to be a de facto battle between the state’s ruling allies? Read on, and never exclude a twist in this tale
A sour irony is descending upon Nitish Kumar, aiming for a record fourth straight term as Bihar chief minister — his main ally, the BJP, is emerging as main opposition to his ambition.
As the Assembly polls near, the BJP appears less and less a coalition partner, more and more a challenger trying to manoeuvre itself into the driver’s seat and dictate power post-election at the expense of Nitish’s Janata Dal United (JDU).
Sunday’s decision by Ram Vilas Paswan’s Lok Janshakti Party (LJP) to reject Nitish as leader of the NDA in Bihar is a proxy ploy by the BJP not only to erode the chief minister of agency as unchallenged alliance leader, but also to chip away at his tally in the new Assembly to a degree that he is left emaciated.
Officially, the BJP still maintains Nitish will be the face of the NDA’s campaign, but it is apparent the chief minister is a placard the BJP is preparing to maim, even discard. Irrespective of the party’s official position, the LJP’s anti-Nitish overture isn’t without the BJP leadership’s endorsement; it is more likely a concerted move.
Chirag Paswan, put in charge of negotiations by his ailing father, met BJP president J.P. Nadda last week in the presence of home minister Amit Shah, the de facto party boss.
Long reined-in, the BJP’s renewed aspiration to pilot power in Bihar has been fed in no mean way by the limp RJD-led gathbandhan. Drubbed in two successive Lok Sabha elections and minus the stage and backroom abilities of Lalu Prasad, the gathbandhan (the Congress and the Left parties are part of it) holds out little promise of making a fight of it.Continue reading “Bihar 2020: Nitish Kumar Vs. Narendra Modi Redux?”