Bihar Crisis: 5 Reasons Why Nitish Kumar & JD(U) Snapped Ties With BJP-Led NDA
Why couldn't the BJP, the strongest political party in India currently, do anything to prevent this regime change?
Five years ago, during the monsoon season, Janata Dal (United) supremo Nitish Kumar broke ties with Lalu Prasad Yadav's Rashtriya Janata Dal and formed the government in Bihar with the Bharatiya Janata Party as part of the National Democratic Alliance.
Now, in 2022, the NDA government has fallen in Bihar.
Let’s go over the five reasons why Nitish Kumar chose to separate from the NDA and why the BJP, the strongest political party in India currently, could not do much about it.
JD(U) Saw the BJP as an Existential Threat
The JD(U) realised that the BJP is growing at its expense in Bihar.
Many MLAs and leaders have reportedly felt that the BJP was moving ahead in the state using Nitish Kumar's name while the JD(U) was being weakened.
Ideological Differences and Vote Banks
Even though the BJP and JD(U) were in the same coalition, they often clashed on many ideological issues. The biggest difference might possibly be regarding secular politics.
Nitish Kumar's image is that of a secular, socialist, and progressive leader, someone who never associates himself with any one religion.
On issues like the caste census or about the Centre giving special status to Bihar, Kumar and the BJP failed to come to an agreement.
Then, there are the vote banks. The Muslim community had started to drift away from Kumar and the Upper Castes were moving towards the BJP. Additionally, the OBCs were also beginning to get cut-off from the JD(U) due to the BJP's social engineering.
On the other hand, by allying with the RJD, Nitish Kumar cannot be accused of working towards the Hindutva agenda. The OBC vote bank would also remain strong.
Nadda's 'Threat' to Regional Parties
In what can be perceived as the BJP shooting itself in the foot, the national party president, JP Nadda, said that the regional parties in India are on the verge of being wiped out and only the BJP will remain.
But the JD(U) is also a regional party. Nadda's message could be interpreted as a threat, thereby worsening the JD(U)'s existential fears.
BJP's 'Conspiracy' Against Nitish Kumar
JD(U) national president Lalan Singh had recently held a press conference in which he said, without naming the BJP, that there had been a conspiracy against Nitish Kumar in the 2020 Assembly elections and that's why the JD(U) had won only 43 seats.
He went on to say that the party is alert now and that he will reveal more about the conspiracy at the appropriate moment. Of course, now we know that this was an allusion to RCP Singh.
Lessons From Maharashtra
Nitish Kumar is a veteran politician and politicians like him learn from other people's mistakes. The Maharashtra political crisis, which saw the Shiv Sena being split and Uddhav Thackeray being stripped of his chief ministerial post, is undoubtedly fresh in Kumar's mind.
He probably remembers how CM Eknath Shinde joined hands with BJP and sidelined his own party's chief. Kumar could not risk RCP Singh pulling a Shinde on him, as it would have led to a split in the JD(U) and thrown his own career into jeopardy.
Some Other Factors
Then there's the numbers game. There are a total of 243 Assembly seats in Bihar. RJD is the largest party in the Assembly with 79 seats. JD(U) has 45 seats. BJP has 77 seats while Congress has 19. 122 is the majority needed in the Assembly to form the government.
With the RJD, JD(U), and Congress teaming up, the total becomes 143, which is 21 seats more than the majority. Since the JD(U) has left the NDA, the numbers are just too high on the other side for the BJP to immediately do something about it.
Nitish Kumar is a firm and capable politician. Despite being allied with the BJP earlier, he constantly disagreed with them on many issues. For instance, he was on the same side as Tejashwi Yadav on the caste census issue.
With respect to the NRC, Kumar had clearly said that he will not implement it in Bihar. More recently, Patna's Senior Superintendent of Police (SSP) Manavjit Dhillon compared the RSS with the PFI, and his remarks were strongly opposed by the BJP. The saffron party demanded that Dhillon be removed from his post. But Kumar did not budge.
Kumar is also quite ruthless when it comes to dissidents. We already know what he did with RCP Singh, but remember Prashant Kishor, who was the party's national vice president, and former JD(U) national general secretary Pawan Varma? Both of them were expelled from the party’s primary leadership for their indiscipline.
Nitish Kumar has repeatedly made his message clear, which is that you don't mess with him.
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