Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Bihar Mahagathbandhan in trouble

Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar's personal choice of supporting the NDA nominee and former governor of the state Ram Nath Kovind for the presidential election has caused strain in relations among Mahagathbandhan's partners. The biggest alliance partner of the Nitish Kumar Govt. is Lalu Yadav’s RJD and the smallest is the Congress. RJD supports Congress-led Opposition candidate Meira Kumar for the presidential election. She is former Lok Sabha Speaker, daughter of Dalit icon former Deputy Prime Minister late Jagjivan Ram and she belongs to Bihar. CM Nitish Kumar's JD(U) is the second largest partner in the govt. The Congress-led Oppn says that they are fighting ideological battle against the BJP-led NDA in the presidential election. And it is the ideological difference with the BJP that JD (U) parted company with it after 17 years. Nitish Kumar parted company with BJP just a year before the Lok Sabha election elections on the issue of Narendra Modi's name as BJP prime ministerial candidate. Kumar's JD (U) fought elections in Lok Sabha in 2014 against the BJP and was decimated. Apprehending the defeat in the assembly elections in 2015, Kumar started an exercise of aligning with all the secular forces in Bihar and formed Mahagathban of JD (U), Rashtriya Janata Dal and Congress. Under the leadership of Chief Minister Nitish Kumar, the grand alliance fought assembly elections and decimated the BJP in the state. As decided, Nitish Kumar was sworn as the CM for the third consecutive time. As RJD emerged as the single largest party, its candidate RJD MLA and party supremo Lalu Prasad Yadav's son Tejswi Yadav was made Deputy CM and his elder brother Tej Pratap was made Cabinet Minister in the Nitish Kumar govt. As the taint of corruption always follows Lalu and his siblings, Nitish Kumar felt uncomfortable day by day with them and because of this discomfort, he always gave the impression that he could go back to his old BJP fold. By supporting NDA nominee Kovind, Nitish has given a clear signal of going back to his old fold of BJP if he was not allowed to have his way. As far as ideology is concerned, Nitish Kumar also deserves his support on her being a Bihari also. But for Kumar it appears that convenience of power is more important than ideology. After a gap of more than 20 years of bitterness with Lalu Yadav, Nitish Kumar again befriended him in the name of ideology to form an alliance to defeat BJP. If BJP is to be defeated in Bihar, it cannot be possible without Lalu Yadav and Congress. Nitish cannot fight against BJP in the state on his own. So, if the Grand Alliance of Congress, JD(U) and RJD breaks, it is certain that Nitish Kumar would go back to his BJP fold. Senior JD(U) leader and party spokesman K C Tyagi has gone on record to say that they were more comfortable with BJP when they were together. It is also certain that Nitish Kumar is functioning under the pressure of Lalu Yadav. He dare not go against him as long as alliance is in place. JD(U) is going to meet on July 2. It may take an important decision whether to stay in Mahagathbandhan or go out of it. Undoubtedly, Nitish Kumar is development-oriented, honest and believed in providing good governance to the people of the state. He has taint free image. So, it is certain that with the dominating leader like Lalu Prasad he will certainly not be feeling comfortable in governing the state. As far as the number in the presidential election is concerned, it is in favour of NDA nominee Kovind. So the defeat of Cong-led oppn nominee Meira Kumar is a foregone conclusion. But one thing is also certain that if ED files charge sheet against Lalu’s siblings in land scandal,they will be dismissed from the Cabinet by CM Nitish Kumar. RJD also cannot take it lying and will break the alliance then and there. So, the key is in the hand of BJP. It may allegedly expedite ED action against Lalu’s sons, who ministers in Nitish Kumar Council of Ministers, to force their exit from Bihar govt.

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