7 reasons why Nitish Kumar must not surrender to BJP despite raids on Lalu
The Bihar CM and JD(U) chief has three options.
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The resolution passed by Lalu Prasad Yadav-led RJD on July 10 has made it clear that their leader and deputy CM of the state, Tejaswi Yadav, is not going to resign from his post.
Now the ball is in CM and JD(U) chief Nitish Kumar’s court. He has to decide whether he would continue with the RJD-JD(U) grand alliance in Bihar or is it time to part ways.
Nitish has three options. First is to wait and watch. Second is to quit the alliance and go for mid-term elections in the state. The third is to shake hands with the BJP once again and remain CM of the state.
Though the third option looks more bright and positive, it has many side effects as well and Nitish might suffer big losses in the long term for this temporary resolve to the current political situation in the state.
1) After a historical victory in the 2015 Assembly elections, the Bihar CM has emerged as the biggest and most powerful face in Indian politics today, who can stop and defeat PM Narendra Modi. This is strong enough ground for him to pitch himself as the face of the Opposition in the 2019 general elections.
Though, he has denied any ambition to become PM, he could be the front-runner if the Modi-led BJP gets lesser numbers in the next general election and the Third Front or united Opposition gets the role of government formation. Now, going with the BJP will erode such scope for the Bihari babu.
2) For Nitish, going with the BJP means limiting his political scope to state politics. Unless there is big change in the mandate in the next elections, Nitish will limit his scope to go beyond the state. He is already third time CM of Bihar and this brings saturation for him at the state level. He has aspirations to be a leader at the national level. Bowing to the BJP is a full stop to these possibilities.
3) The BJP was always a marginalised party in a state like Bihar. However, it gained a lot in almost a decade-long alliance with Nitish in the state. The same is true about the RSS; they increased their cadre base and shakas during the previous alliance.
The Lalu Prasad Yadav-led RJD is the largest party in Bihar. Photo: India Today
This has penetrated the votebank of Nitish. Today, he is CM of the state but the biggest party is not JD(U), it’s the Lalu-led RJD. If Nitish chooses to go with the BJP from here onwards, he will restore that space and opportunity for the BJP and the RSS which, in the long term, is not good news for Nitish himself.
4) The more worrisome fact is that the BJP and RSS might successfully take a big chunk of OBC and EBC votes from Nitish. A dependent Nitish and weaker Lalu will help Modi and the BJP emerge as a more stable and reliable political option in the state and this will badly affect the prospects for Nitish in 2019 and 2020 (state elections).
5) Nitish has a very limited caste numbers in his favour. With the 6-7 per cent Kurmi and Koiri votebank, he can’t afford to lose the minorities, who tactically voted against Modi and the BJP in the last Assembly election and helped Nitish come back to power.
Nitish is the leader who opposed Modi as the PM candidate of the NDA in 2013 on the basis of Modi’s communal history. Now, surrendering to the same man would be seen as betrayal by the minorities and this is something Nitish can’t afford at this level of his political career.
6) Fall of the grand alliance means accepting the slogan propagated by the BJP that only Modi and BJP can give political stability and pave the path of development in the state. If the grand alliance falls midway, even Nitish’s credibility would be affected and he might not be seen as the man who can bring stability and development. This is not something Nitish would ever want.
7) The grand alliance not only formed the government in the state, but also successfully stopped Modi. This victory sent a message at the national level. The fall of the grand alliance means throwing the big political gain in the waters of the Ganga.
There is nothing as a final word in politics. Nitish might gain something out of his performance and presence in the state in the next two years. However, the BJP, even as an ally, will try its best to dent him as much as possible. Surrendering to the BJP would be a victory for Modi and moral and political defeat for Nitish Kumar.