- Bihar is always considered one of the most crucial Hindi heartlands states vis-à-vis the political landscape of the country whose well-being or otherwise carries widespread ramifications elsewhere. People closely following the developments in the still categorized as the backward state would nod in agreement on how various political parties have attempted to position themselves whilst governing over the last couple of decades. We also know how infamously corrupt the reign of Lalu Prasad Yadav-led Rashtriya Janata Dal was for a decade-and-a-half resulting in the extremely embarrassing fodder scam and other corruption-related matters that continue to hit the headlines even now.
PC: Dalchand Kumar
- The fodder scan singed Bihar and the entire country in general leading to an assortment of corruption cases would be an understatement. Since then, the political churning of Bihar has taken an interesting turn more often than not. As you are aware, Nitish Kumar and Lalu Prasad Yadav were thick friends when the Janata Dal was still united representing the socialist ideologies. Ever since the two friends parted ways leading to a realignment of so-called secular forces, the political undercurrents in Bihar have undergone several upheavals in the form of alliances/understandings throwing surprises galore much to the merriment of common citizens.
- Interestingly, after severing his friendship with Lalu, Nitish forged an alliance with the communal BJP that continued for 17 years parting ways in 2014 no sooner than Narendra Modi was made the campaign head of the BJP. Post the NDA assuming power at the Centre, Nitish has performed several somersaults by switching sides leaving even the hardcore political experts befuddled. Given the history of unpredictability surrounding Nitish Kumar, there would be another political realignment that was perhaps foretold in Bihar’s 2020 assembly poll results itself. Not only did BJP pip JD(U) by a fair distance, even RJD put up a strong showing, losing only narrowly after its 2019 Lok Sabha washout.
PC: DIPAK MISHRA
- That has come true now what with the JD(U) satrap joining hands with RJD and Congress yet again forming an alliance. Of course, Nitish Kumar is no longer considered the charmer, and the Bihar electorate seemed to have tired of Sushasan babu. Also, this was an unambiguous signal that BJP’s ambitions in Bihar now had solid grounding. Mind you, BJP may not rue too much the loss of a government over which Nitish maintained tight control. However, what this latest move of Nitish portends is a breather for the good news-starved opposition under relentless pressure from the expansionist moves of the BJP. Potentially, the breakup gives the opposition a better shot at Bihar’s 40 Lok Sabha seats for the 2024 general elections.
- Nationally too, the realignment boosts flagging opposition unity. In 2020, anti-incumbency against the Nitish-led government, especially among youth looking for employment, was evident. Only the swelling women vote, mobilized by better targeting of welfare schemes, turned the tide for NDA. Even here, Nitish couldn’t really claim credit for that goodwill that seemed reserved for PM Modi, which translated into more seats for BJP. Did someone mention that politics is the art of the impossible? You bet; it is. The lure of power forces the political masters to do the unthinkable. For now, watch Nitish Kumar assume the mantle of CM for a record eighth time.