Nitish Kumar stuns BJP to dull saffron shine ahead of 2024 polls

Nitish Kumar
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By Manish Anand

New Delhi, August 9: The Bharatiya Janata Party’s bid to take control of Bihar politics with covert operations ran into the Nitish Kumar wall, with the incumbent chief minister delivering a body blow to the saffron outfit to join hands with the Rashtriya Janata Dal.

In swift moves, Kumar stitched a fresh alliance with the RJD, Congress, Left parties, Hindustan Awami Morcha, Vikashsheel Insan Party to hand over the support of about 155 MLAs to Bihar Governor Phagu Chauhan.

The moves of India’s most maverick politician Nitish Kumar has by all accounts left the BJP stranded in the Bihar politics.

The BJP has lost a large state at a time when the saffron outfit was striving additional states in its kitty after forming the government in Maharashtra.

Unlike other states, the BJP has serious crisis of leadership in Bihar where the party is without a leader who can command followings across the state after promoting district leaders to key positions in the past few years.

Bihar with 40 Lok Sabha seats has been a force multiplier for the BJP in the 2014 and the 2019 Lok Sabha elections, and the saffron outfit maybe staring at a dip in its tally from the state in the 2024 elections.

The BJP’s previous bids to cash in on the politics of polarisation have been non-starter in the Bihar politics which remains firm for its social justice electoral narrative, with the caste equations being the sole deciding factors in the outcomes of the Assembly elections.

Besides losing power in Bihar, the BJP has unwittingly released a key face in Nitish Kumar to join the Opposition ranks at a time when the non-BJP parties are in utter disarray as seen in the outcomes of the elections for the posts of President and Vice President.

Even while Nitish Kumar is territorially bound to remain an insignificant player in the national politics, the BJP’s ability to hold on to the allies in the National Democratic Alliance will be seriously questioned, which may emerge as a factor in the event of any dip in its tally post-2024 elections.

The BJP without the help of Arun Jaitely is seen short of ideas to understand the politics of Bihar, and also the significance of Kumar, who has been the pivot in the state politics against the RJD.

The Tejashwi Yadav-led RJD has largely been out of power in Bihar for about 17 years, which is too large a time span to make the party leaders demotivated.

Sharing power with the JD (U) will give a fresh lease of life to the RJD, which again will be disadvantageous to the BJP.

The BJP at the end of the day will have to blame its brand of brash politics unleashed in the 2020 Assembly elections in Bihar by unleashing Devendra Fadnavis to attempt dwarfing Kumar with covert operations.

The saffron outfit is further likely to struggle to build campaign against Kumar in the next elections, for the lack of the state leadership pool, as the Bihar unit has been dulled into inertia by solely riding the Modi magic bandwagon.

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