Wed, 10 Aug 2022 03:01 PM IST
Janata Dal (United) supremo Nitish Kumar on Tuesday made another U-turn in his political career after he ended his alliance with the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) only to reunite with Lalu Prasad Yadav's Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD). This was the second time in eight years that Nitish left the National Democratic Alliance (NDA).
Nitish's association with the BJP had started in the late 1990s. At that time, he held former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee and Lal Krishna Advani in high regard. However, the 15-year-old alliance ended in 2013 after Narendra Modi was made NDA's Prime Ministerial candidate for the 2014 Lok Sabha polls.
In 2013, the BJP had extensively tried to convince Nitish, but this time that wasn't the case as the saffron party already knew about his political ambitions in national politics. However, the BJP believes that Nitish's image has vastly down, which was also reflected in the 2020 Bihar polls, where the JD(U) won just 43 seats.
But Nitish doesn't seem to be concerned about this and believes that support from Lalu's RJD and Sonia Gandhi's Congress will help him regain his significance. "Nitish Kumar has been Union minister and has now been the longest-serving Bihar CM. What else is there to achieve – deputy PM or PM. If IK Gujral and HD Deve Gowda can become PM, why can’t Nitish Kumar," The Indian Express quoted a JD(U) leader as saying.
The opposition also needs a face to challenge Prime Minister Narendra Modi in the 2024 Lok Sabha polls. However, it would be interesting to see if all opposition parties can arrive at a consensus for Nitish as their face as Aam Aadmi Party's Arvind Kejriwal and Trinamool Congress' Mamata Banerjee have often revealed national political ambitions.
Meanwhile, political experts believe that JD(U) and RJD's alliance can become deadly for the BJP in Bihar. In 2015, the Mahagathbandhan disseminated the BJP in Bihar polls. RJD enjoys the support of the Muslim and Yadav communities in Bihar, while JD(U) has the backing of non-Yadav other backward castes (OBCs), which can impact the BJP in 2024.
Tejashwi, who lost his calm after Nitish dumped the Mahagathbandhan in 2017, has also shown maturity in recent times, which is another factor that will be a huge challenge for the BJP, believe political experts.