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OpinionsNitish Kumar has given a big jolt to INDI Alliance but his...

Nitish Kumar has given a big jolt to INDI Alliance but his JD(U)’s future is bleak


BJP may tolerate him till Lok Sabha poll but dump before 2025

By Kalyani Shankar

On Sunday, Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar threw a bomb shell by leaving the ruling Mahagathbandhan in Bihar and returning to the N.D.A. coalition. He also quit the opposition coalition which he had built eight months ago. This dismantling of the bloc has dealt a significant blow to the I.N.D.I.A. bloc at the level. They missed the slim chance of defeating the B.J.P. in the upcoming Lok Sabha polls.

It is worth exploring how Bihar's may affect the national landscape. Kumar's decision to return to the N.D.A. fold could benefit the B.J.P. but weaken the Rashtriya Janata Dal (R.J.D.) and Congress in Bihar. It could ultimately impact the opposition bloc at the national level. This B.J.P.- J.D. (U) partnership could improve the chances of the B.J.P. winning more seats in the upcoming 2024 general elections and help Modi achieve a hat trick.

The B.J.P. tried to break the opposition coalition and partner with the J.D. (U) alliance. The Party sees Nitish Kumar as a critical ally in Bihar and believes their partnership can win in the 2024 elections. Kumar has only 45 seats in the current Assembly, while the R.J.D. and B.J.P. have 79 and 78 seats, respectively. Despite this, Nitish managed to continue as the chief minister.

Did the Congress party have a hand in Nitish Kumar's departure from the IN.D.I.A. opposition bloc? The reason behind this setback was the decision to sideline Nitish and promote Congress. Kumar accused the Party of being responsible for the failed alliance, arguing that the situation arose due to poor communication.

K.C. Tyagi of the Janata Dal-United (J.D.U.) has levelled accusations against the Congress party that it conspired to dominate the Opposition bloc. On January 13th in Mumbai, CPI(M) general secretary Sitaram Yechury proposed Nitish Kumar as the convener of the bloc. This suggestion was supported by most of the other leaders present. However, Rahul Gandhi voiced his disagreement. Mamata Banerjee subsequently proposed the name of Congress chief Kharge as the coalition chief, a move Tyagi claims was part of a broader conspiracy.

Tyagi stated that Nitish Kumar mobilised an alliance that united all non-Congress parties. However, it is now disintegrating. The situation in and Bihar is on the verge of collapse, and the bloc in West Bengal is also falling apart.

Nitish confirmed that he left the I.N.D.I.A. alliance because it didn't meet his expectations. He felt he was the only one working towards the coalition's goals. Although the partnership has brought together all non-Congress parties, the alliance disintegrated in Bihar and almost collapsed in Punjab and Bengal.

There is also an untold story. Lalu Yadav, the leader of the Rashtriya Janata Dal (R.J.D.), encouraged Nitish Kumar to form an opposition coalition at the national level to aim for the position of Prime Ministerial candidate. The purpose of this plan was to pave the way for Lalu Yadav's son to become the Chief Minister of Bihar. However, the plan failed when Mallikarjun Kharge was chosen as the leader of the new coalition. Consequently, Nitish Kumar decided to align with the BJP for a better future.

Kumar's credibility has been tarnished because of his unwavering desire to hold power, regardless of the repercussions. He has changed political allegiances several times, always for his benefit, and currently holds the title of Chief Minister with the longest tenure in Bihar..

Nitish's track record shows that after exploring other options in 2013, Nitish Kumar left the B.J.P. and allied with the R.J.D. and Congress. After the 2019 Lok Sabha elections, he aligned with the B.J.P. again and became the Chief Minister in 2020. However, two years later, Kumar left the B.J.P. and formed a new government with the R.J.D. and Congress. Now he has dumped the R.J.D. That is why he is called Palti Ram.

Despite being an experienced politician, Nitish Kumar's frequent changes in stance has cost him the chance to be considered as a prime ministerial candidate for the opposition party, especially at the age of 72.

The B.J.P.'s dismantling of the I.N.D.I.A. bloc may facilitate Prime Minister Modi to win his third term. In Bihar, mobilising O.B.C. votes to achieve electoral success is imperative. In November 2023, Bihar increased the reservation for Scheduled Castes and Extremely Backward Castes.

It is unclear how long the Nitish and the B.J.P partnership will last. They may work together until the upcoming Lok Sabha polls, but what will happen afterwards is uncertain. The Bharatiya Janata Party may support Nitish only until the Lok Sabha polls and their support could decrease afterwards—some question whether the alliance will continue until the 2025 Bihar Assembly polls.

Nitish has shown that it's possible to retain power by using clever bargaining skills and winning a few seats, even if only 4% of the electorate belongs to their caste. But one thing is sure: Given Nitish's track record, there could be other flip-flops by the chief minister.




The Northlines is an independent source on the Web for news, facts and figures relating to Jammu, Kashmir and Ladakh and its neighbourhood.

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