- People closely following the political fortunes of India would be left speechless, astonished, and incredibly bemused at the way Bihar strongman Nitish Kumar manages to switch sides without batting an eyelid. The number of flip flops JD(U) patriarch has accomplished over the last few years defies political logic as well as raises pertinent questions about ideology, principles, and most importantly, what the electorate would be perceiving about Nitish’s chameleon-like somersaults. Joining hands with the National Democratic Alliance and the United Progressive Alliance intermittently has ensured Nitish stays in the CM’s saddle despite his changing alliances at the drop of a hat. The moot point to ponder here is what makes him do this so nonchalantly.
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- Is it that he just cannot stay away from the power? Or is it that he nurtures ambitions that cannot be simply deciphered by even the political pundits? Mind you, Nitish was the main protagonist who fashioned the emergence of the INDIA bloc consisting of several opposition parties opposed to the BJP. With this latest switch, Nitish has almost rendered the nascent INDIA bloc a body blow that might severely restrict the alliance from taking off on expected lines. Of course, Nitish’s return to NDA resets Lok Sabha 2024’s numbers game to 2019, music to BJP’s ears. Yes, new this time is the existence of a pre-poll opposition alliance. Looking around, it will reveal that the INDIA bloc would perpetually be about to fall apart during seat-sharing talks was a foregone conclusion.
- Though the trigger ultimately came from unexpected quarters. What forced Nitish to switch sides again? Look no further than the twin events viz. the Ayodhya spectacle and recognition of socialist Karpoori Thakur who was conferred the Bharat Ratna posthumously, both led by PM Modi. Also, Nitish found INDIA wintry cold to his PM ambitions, and an Ayodhya glow on all things poll-oriented. Digging further will reveal that Modi’s personalized recognition of Thakur threatened to be seen through the social justice tree JD(U) long nurtured. Agreed, Bihar’s caste survey by JDU-RJD govt revved up Thakur’s affirmative-action politics. Nonetheless, Modi claimed that the very source code triggered an existential crisis – not on ideology but as claimant to legacy.
- We know how Nitish jumps ship the moment political seas turn choppy. At one level, it’s unsurprising he’d go all-out to grab electoral dividends the twin events promise. Remember, pre-electoral alliances are important to winning seats. The BJP, though in a commanding position leaves no ground uncovered in the voter market, still tying up with the smallest of parties to plug gaps in voter coverage. Nitish is the bridge to lower OBC and Dalit vote shares in Bihar, with a spillover effect in the neighboring states. Mamata, Kejriwal, and Uddhav are all set to chart their course for the Lok Sabha polls. Where will this leave Congress and its yatras? Simply put, the yantras will be a sheer waste of time and resources. Congress should think out of the box now.