Rumour mills go wild over Nitish Kumar’s move after Opposition snub

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The RJD leaders are exuding confidence that the Speaker of the state Assembly is from the party ranks, which may deny the scope for the BJP to play a spoilsport in the event of the state plunging into another phase of political instability.

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By Manish Anand

New Delhi, December 27: The national executive of the Janata Dal (United) is being held in the national capital on Thursday and Friday with the stated agenda of party’s preparations for the Lok Sabha elections next year. But the political corridors in Bihar are stoking speculations over the likely moves of the state chief minister who has a history of surprising observers with his decisions on eve of key elections.

There is a strong likelihood that the JD (U) will get a new president in place of the incumbent Rajiv Ranjan Singh alias Lalan Singh. There also appears the possibility that Kumar himself may seek replacement of Singh to help his party get a leader in place for the top post who could be at ease to negotiate with the potential allies in the Lok Sabha elections.

The Bihar-based leaders of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) are fueling the speculations that the JD (U) may possibly split as the Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) would seek to ensure that the party has requisite numbers in place to stake claims to form government in the state with allies of the ‘Mahagathbandhan’. Without JD (U), the ‘Mahagathbandhan’ is just short of seven seats to go past the half way mark in the Bihar Assembly of 243 members. The Congress, the CPI (ML), CPI, and Independents are the constituents of the ‘Mahagathbandhan’.  The RJD leaders are exuding confidence that the Speaker of the state Assembly is from the party ranks, which may deny the scope for the BJP to play a spoilsport in the event of the state plunging into another phase of political instability.

A Bihar-based political observer argued that “Kumar may want to open a channel with the BJP in the event the RJD goes adventurous, and for that purpose a replacement of Lalan Singh is necessitated as he has strained relations with the leaders of the BJP”. While the speculation of Singh quitting the post of the party president has been denied by the JD (U) leaders, the Bihar chief minister has earned a reputation of making wild swings in political affiliations on the eve of elections.

The Bihar chief minister also appears miffed with the Opposition block, the Indian National Developmental and Inclusive Alliance (INDIA), for pushing him to the margins of the conglomerate. West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee had teamed with her Delhi counterpart Arvind Kejriwal to throw a spanner in the aspirations of Kumar by proposing the name of Congress president Mallikarjuna Kharge for the prime ministerial face of the Opposition bloc.

Also, the BJP will be keen to get a foothold in the Bihar politics firmly ahead of the 2024 Lok Sabha elections. The BJP’s electoral track record in Bihar shows the party winning the state comfortably whenever the party has been in an alliance with the JD (U).      

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