By Arun Srivastava
Like his big brother, the chief minister of Bihar Nitish Kumar too is haunted by the element of erosion of the credibility. The situation has simply been aggravated by the jibes and snide hurled by the state BJP leaders at Nitish. The relation between the two NDA partners has turned so bitter that the BJP leaders are determined to defeat the JD(U) candidates in the election to Jharkhand assembly scheduled on November 30, 2019.
Technically the BJP leaders are free to fight against JD(U) in Jharkhand, as they have alliance only in Bihar. But Nitish being a prominent face of NDA, the BJP leadership was maintaining restraint. However with the relations getting strained in recent times, the BJP leaders are no more willing to respect his stature and views.
The impact of the strained relation was felt during the recently held by-elections to the state as well as to the states of Maharashtra and Haryana. Notwithstanding Narendra Modi’s intensive electoral campaigning in Maharashtra and Haryana, where his own image and credibility featured as the primary agenda for referendum, Modi miserably failed to regain the trust of the electorates.
Same thing happened in Bihar; Nitish also miserably failed to win over the confidence of Bihari voters. BJP and JD(U) lost four out of the five Assembly seats in the by-elections held on 21 October. The only seat which JD(U) could win was the Nathnagar. Voting took place in the Assembly constituencies of Kishanganj, Nathnagar, Belhar, Simri Bakhtiyarpur and Daraunda as the sitting MLAs shifted to the Lok Sabha in May election. Ironically just less than a year ahead of the 2020 assembly election, JD(U) suffered a major electoral setback.
What was most shocking for NDA was MIMIM’s Qamarul Hoda defeating BJP from Kishanganj by 10,211 votes. This was first ever electoral victory of MIMIM in Bihar. After the by-poll disaster the relation between the partners simply deteriorated beyond repair. It was revealed that leaders of both the parties had worked against each other to ensure defeat of their candidates. The atmosphere of distrust gripped the leaders of both the parties.
Situation worsened further after floods completely ravaged the state with the state capital becoming the worst sufferer. Nitish was put in the dock and his leadership quality was publically questioned by the BJP senior leaders.
Angry at the impolite treatment meted out by the BJP leadership, he at the national executive meet, held a week back in Delhi decided to fight upcoming Assembly polls in Jammu and Kashmir, Jharkhand, Haryana, and Delhi alone.
Senior JDU leaders believe the party’s alliance with the BJP has caused immense damage to it as its members felt hemmed in by the ‘big brothers attitude. In the past, its tallest leaders like Inder Singh Namdhari and Radha Krishna Kishore parted ways as they could not find space in state politics.
Little doubt the conflict between BJP and JDU in Jharkhand will certainly have its impact in the Bihar assembly elections in 2020. Though the BJP has agreed in principle to go to elections under leadership of Nitish, the chances are bleak as most of the senior leaders, mostly belonging to upper castes are opposed to it.
The recent spurt in crime has unnerved the common people, it has also scared the political establishment. Criminals having a field day would alienate the voters. Incidents of serious crimes including 10 murders in just 24 hours have been frightening.
Pointing to the rise in crime, leader of opposition Tejashwi questioned if Nitish Kumar is losing the image of “sushashan babu” carefully crafted over a decade ago. “Every day, scams are getting unearthed. Helpless citizens are losing lives to crimes.” He even alleged “Chief Minister shields criminals, mafia, rapists and the corrupt. This is Nitish Ji’s media-managed Kushasan,”
Senior BJP leader and Union Minister Giriraj Singh has been openly blaming Nitish Kumar, Deputy Chief Minister Sushil Modi and a top state BJP leader, for huge financial losses state had to suffer due to “man-made” floods.
Ironically Nitish Kumar once seen as the potential prime minister, is not finding many takers this election season. The attendance at his public meetings is far from impressive and he is also missing from the political discourse. It is a known fact that Nitish’s anti-Lalu posture was his biggest strength. After 2015 election battle which Nitish fought with Lalu against the BJP, has changed the political scenario. Lalu is no more the biggest threat and also reason for fear. (IPA Service)