Bihar crisis; Clear warning to BJP’s ‘dirty’ politics

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(MS Shanker)

The crisis brewing in an important Hindi state like Bihar where the JDU-BJP-headed government is on verge of collapse and a fresh formation is coming up, is not good news for the BJP. Has JDU realized the threat of its major ally’s attempt to eclipse its party if it continues to govern the state as in the case of what the BJP did in Maharashtra?

The trouble started brewing when the former bureaucrat turned politician and member of JDU RK Singh’s growing closeness with the BJP. A seasoned politician like Nitish Kumar was quick to realize what is in store for him and his party if he failed to act.

He immediately acted on some of his party colleague’s complaints over Singh’s alleged amassment of wealth over the years.

The JDU suspect Singh is being used by the BJP to bring a split in their party as it used meticulously in Maharashtra of Eknath Shinde. How Shinde revolted against his party chief Udhav Thackeray of Shiv Sena and brought down the government and become chief minister of the new alliance with his faction joining hands with the BJP is a known fact, although some court cases are still pending for final disposal including the suspension of Sena MLA’s by Udhav Thackeray faction.

In the wake of Maharashtra developments, the JDU chief in Bihar seems to have smelt something rotten brewing in his backyard too. He seems to have decided to counter the BJP by not allowing it to administer the same prescription to his party men as it did to Shiv Sena using Singh as an effective pawn.

Lalu Prasad’s Rashtriya Janata Dal was quick to respond to the political crisis that arose in the ruling alliance, by announcing his party’s support for Nitish to form a new alliance.

But, Nitish Kumar seems cagey as the lone alliance with the RJD which has 80 MLAs in the 234-strong assembly and his 45 MLAs may not be sufficient to prolong his stay in the administration for the rest of the term. Hence, he reportedly approached Congress though they have 16 MLAs to ensure the new alliance partner’s strength swell to a comfortable 159, by also roping in like-minded Left parties.

Rumors are agog that though the Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) post-poll alliance in Maharashtra failed as it was accused of rampant corruption and failure to contain law and order, and had miserably failed in handling two year pandemic years, the JDU has a proposal to form a similar ‘Kitchdi’ in Bihar, to sustain in state and national politics. Yet, what if the majority members within JDU like in Shiv Sena chose to raise a banner of revolt and play spoiled sport as the breakaway Shiv Sena faction led by Shinde done by effectively arguing that the alliance with the Congress and National Conference by Udhav was against the pre-poll mandate of the people? Like in Maharashtra, the JDU and BJP were pre-poll allies, and the Bihar electorate, though not given an absolute majority, ensured simple to form the government.  Precisely, that’s what the Bihar BJP leadership has said in its brief press interaction of  Nitish’s formal announcement. “Nitish betrayed the mandate of people who voted the BJP-JDU alliance.”

Although top brass of the BJP, including the party chief Nadda and Home Minister Amit Shah, tried to reach out to Nitish, it is gathered that the latter was unwilling to cut a deal.

And, finally Nitish Kumar announced his decision to part with BJP after holding a meeting with his party MPs.  Meanwhile, the Congress has already given a letter to be given to the Governor extending support o JDU.  Lalu Prasad Yadav’s RJD is also willing to join and the jailed leader’s daughter tweeted that her father continues to be the ‘King Maker”

Many a political analyst feels that Nitish Kumar’s decision to dump BJP yet again and join hands with most corrupt RJD, was only to fulfill his prime ministerial ambition.  Yes, a last shot at top post at the age of 74. Few analysts also feel that Nitish decision also make the great saying ‘Vinase kale vipareeti budhi” a reality.  Or will it force the BJP to stop its dirty politics of destabilising opposition governments?

As a result, the new churning in Opposition is going to pose a challenge to the BJP in the coming Lok Sabha polls, unless TMC joins.