Will Nitish Kumar's Decision To Leave BJP-Led NDA Earn Him Oppn's PM Candidature? Explained

Bihar Political Crisis: One thing that goes against Nitish Kumar is that he is a regional leader, and parties that are not from the Hindi heartland may not support him. Besides, the JD(U) supremo is also accused of changing political allies.

By Aalok Sensharma
Updated: Thu, 11 Aug 2022 03:19 PM IST
Minute Read
Will Nitish Kumar's Decision To Leave BJP-Led NDA Earn Him Oppn's PM Candidature? Explained
Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar addresses a poll rally/ Photo: ANI

Bihar Chief Minister and Janata Dal (United) supremo Nitish Kumar's decision to split from the Bharatiya Janata Party-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) has once again sparked the debate on who would challenge Prime Minister Narendra Modi in the 2024 Lok Sabha polls.

A section of JD(U) leaders on certain occasions have said that Nitish could be a contender for the opposition's Prime Ministerial candidate for 2024. Even Nitish has revealed his national ambitions by openly challenging PM Modi for the 2024 general elections.

"They should remember 2014 (when BJP stormed to power at the Centre) is past. They need to worry ('chinta karni chahiye') about 2024," Nitish said on Wednesday after taking oath as Bihar Chief Minister for the eighth time.

However, it would be interesting to see if opposition parties can unite under one umbrella and pick a face in a bid to stop the Modi juggernaut in 2024. Many opposition leaders like Trinamool Congress (TMC) chief Mamata Banerjee and Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) national convenor Arvind Kejriwal have also revealed their national ambitions.

Notably, Banerjee, 67, had welcomed the developments in Bihar but refused to comment on Nitish's Prime Ministerial chances. Similarly, Left parties have also stayed mum over making Nitish the opposition's face for the 2024 polls.

One thing that goes against Nitish is that he is a regional leader, and parties that are not from the Hindi heartland may not support him. Besides, the JD(U) supremo is also accused of changing political allies.

In 2013, Nitish ended his 15-year alliance with the BJP in protest against NDA's decision to appoint Narendra Modi as its Prime Ministerial candidate. Two years, he fought the Bihar polls with Rashtriya Janata Dal-led Grand Alliance but left the Mahagathbandhan in 2017 after corruption charges against his then deputy Tejashwi Yadav.

He joined the BJP again that year, fought the 2019 Lok Sabha polls and 2020 Bihar elections with the saffron party, but left the NDA again in 2022, alleging that it was trying to split the JD(U).

"People should be condoning such unsteady stand by (Nitish) Kumar," Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) leader Majeed Memon was quoted as saying by news agency PTI.

However, some in the opposition believe that Nitish has a strong chance of becoming a Prime Ministerial candidate in 2024. Clyde Crasto, another NCP leader, said Nitish's action of dumping the BJP could be a harbinger of future political realignments.

"It is said that what happens in Bihar politics today, finds expression at the national level in the future. This is the beginning of the end of NDA," PTI quoted Crasto as saying.

The BJP, on the other hand, isn't worried about Nitish leaving the NDA and has termed his decision to walk out of the alliance as "good riddance". The saffron party said Nitish's ambition has no limit and he has never worked for the betterment of Bihar.

"There is no limit to Nitish Kumar’s ambition. He works neither for Bihar nor his party, but only to further his ambition. He has nursed prime ministerial ambitions. However, there is no vacancy for Prime Minister and India has also got a very good President and vice president," said BJP Rajya Sabha member Vivek Thakur.

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