After fully making use of Bihar chief minister, Nitish Kumar, in Presidential and Vice Presidential elections and splitting the opposition, the Bihar leader appears to be not much of use to the Parivar. This was evident during the cabinet reshuffle when Nitish’s Janata Dal (United) was kept out. Though Nitish eagerly waited for a call from Narendra Modi on the subject there was none forthcoming, which was indicative that in the future political schemes of Modi and Shah there was no space for the JDU leader.
There were reports that in the informal discussions on seat adjustments in Bihar 2019 parliamentary polls, only a few seats may be available for JDU as the party is confident of performing well on its own and that Nitish himself has spoken about Modi returning to power at the Centre for the second term. Parivar has to accommodate its own candidates and NDA allies who stood with the party in the last few elections. In other words for Nitish’s party only a few Lok Sabha seats can be spared, after meeting the demands of the present NDA constituents.
BJP masterminds do know that for Nitish today the options are limited. If unwilling to avail of the offer of NDA, one option is to go to the UPA. But for UPA it would only be a liability as Nitish has the sullied image of playing hide and seek with communal forces, which is not in consonancewith the secular image of UPA. The way he quit the UPA also angered some of the constituents. It would, in any case, be difficult to explain Nitish treating UPA as a Dharamshala, walking in and out without any convincing reasons or political ideology. He is considered an unreliable ally in the secular camp.
To make Nitish totally dependent on the NDA, now the BJP strategists are discreetly trying to cut the Kurmi base of Nitish, who has enjoyed their support throughout his public life. Though a small community it is an influential one. It is with the firm backing of the community as base thatNitish has been playing his caste political engineering and even managed to split caste votes like those of the Dalits.
BJP, particularly Modi-Shah duo, have scores to settle with Nitish, who has given them embarrassing moments more than once. The duo know well that Nitish can be made politically weak if his Kurmi following is weakened. The job is now given to Rajiv Ranjan, a saffron Kurmi leader, who has convened Kurmi Sammelan on November 5 on the birth anniversary of Sardar Patel, whom Kurmis consider as their leader. Though the Sammelan, convened with the clearance of Parivar bosses, is now withheld due to strong pressure from Nitish, the move to wean the community away from him is an ongoing tactic of the Parivar managers. Taming of Nitish is the game which has begun with the object of making him a caged bird. The BJP want him as “bin pendekalota”(a pot without a base) hereafter.
The only credible choice is the hard path of going solo for assembly poll along with the parliamentary poll. The only convincing explanation he has before him is to explain that he did play all the games for the development of Bihar for which he needed funds from the Centre. Only the formation of a Bihar focussed regional party can keep Nitishalive and kicking in state politics.He must take up regional issues and raiseproblems of the state under the façade of Bihar ka Vikas. He has the reputation as Bihar’s development man, which he has vigorously pursued and retain the title leading a pure and simple Bihari party for which there is space in the state. It would mean parting of ways, but Nitish has always thrived in the game of parting ways.