By Arun Srivastava
Nitish Kumar’s election strategist Prashant Kishore’s Mumbai mission failed to make Lalu Prasad forgive his ‘younger brother’ for his betrayal and embrace him once more. As the political emissary of Nitish, his election strategist was flown to Mumbai with the task of assuaging Lalu’s feeling and to make him pardon his boss. But it was a curt and impolite reply that awaited him. Without mincing words Lalu sent him back to Patna with the message that Nitish should first denounce the NDA, then only any talk could be held.
The outcome had a shattering effect on Nitish. He was conscious of the fact that Lalu might not accept his request, but he never expected that he would shut the door on his face. The rebuff from the RJD supremo left Nitish with no alternative but to fall in the BJP line though aware of the fact the compulsion to continue with the NDA would hurt him beyond redemption.
BJP has been keeping a close watch on Nitish’s recent activities and is keen to grab the opportunity to its advantage notwithstanding the rhetoric of Nitish and his aides’ to go it alone. The party is convinced that Nitish could not muster courage to face the electorates on his own. Having no tangible support base has been a major shortcoming for Nitish. He has a vote base of only 7 per cent, which he can claim as his own.
Obviously for his survival Nitish needs the crutches of either BJP or RJD. With RJD reluctant to entertain his request, it is obvious that he has to maintain his strained relations with the BJP. He is left with no other option at least for now, till the 2019 Lok Sabha elections. But this situation has been created by none other than Nitish himself. He betrayed everyone. The people who were once supposedly close to Nitish vow that “he is friend of none”, “he is for none”. The persons who were once close to Nitish had to suffer maximum humiliation from him. The list is quite long.
One question that still haunts the people of Bihar is: why did Nitish betray Lalu Prasad and crushed the mahagathbandhan. The political relevance of the grand alliance could be gauged from the simple fact that Lalu Prasad instead of staking his claim for the office of the chief minister offered it to Nitish on a platter. Because Lalu realised the importance of the alliance. He knew that to fight BJP it was imperative that all anti-BJP forces should join hands and come together, a political line that that was eventually endorsed by the CPI(M)’s Hyderabad Congress.
But Nitish finally landed in the lap of the BJP. This obviously implied that he was overcome by his own personal vested interest than the welfare of the people and secular forces of the country. He was well aware of the threat from BJP and its Hindutva vigilantes to Dalits, minorities and the poor, but continued to make merry with the BJP.
Nitish and his aides may claim that he is the modern day Chanakya, but the fact remains that he is a kaput self. It is not that people could not make out his love-hate with the BJP, especially with Modi. In 2010 he ridiculed BJP, especially Amit Shah, but in 2014 he allied with saffron. After 2014 he ridiculed Modi. He held him in contempt and as a bitter enemy. In the following years he latched on to Lalu’s RJD only to malign Lalu and his sons as corrupt and criminally inclined. It is indeed strange that a person who claims himself to be the honest and able administrator, the modern Chanakya, could stoop so low
BJP offering him the chair of the chief minister, after his act of great betrayal, is candid proof of the party’s game plan to finish his political career. Amit Shah and other BJP leaders had foreseen his future. They knew that he would eventually turn untouchable in his own land. Though a few Congress leaders who have been beneficiaries of Nitish’s strategems pulled together for his inclusion in the secular alliance, by and large the entire organisation, including the top leadership, has been reluctant to accommodate him..
In politics nothing is impossible. But Nitish losing his secular friends is really pathetic. In the last one year, while Nitish was the chief minister of NDA, the BJP resorted to all kinds of machination to denigrate and embarrass him. In fact the people of Bihar through the recent by-elections demonstrated that they no longer treat Nitish as their leader. He lost all the by elections held in recent months.
Though senior JD(U) leaders have been claiming that Nitish would be the NDA face for the 2019 parliamentary elections and the party would contest 20 seats on its own, the BJP has made it known that he is of no consequence in Bihar and he cannot be offered more than seven seats, and at best another three more. Nitish has been caught in such a piquant situation that he cannot say no to the BJP offer. However, sources close to Nitish say he would seek an assurance from Amit Shah that BJP would play second fiddle in the assembly elections scheduled to be held in 2020. (IPA Service)