With the indication of the formation of a new non-Congress and non-BJP political front, Nitish Kumar has made it clear that there is now no hope left over for his joining hands with the Congress with whom he was hobnobbing for last couple of years.
At the same time his arch political rival RJD supremo Lalu Yadav along with Ramvilas Paswan has declared that the alliance with Congress in Bihar is almost sealed and only announcement has to be made.
Outwitted by Congress just before the Lok Sabha poll, Nitish became the victim of his own politics as currently he is still exploring his new positioning in a changed political scenario.
Recently when he was not invited in the foundation-laying of the Aligarh Muslim University in Kishanganj, he lost his patience and in a blistering attack on Congress called its leader “kayar’ (cowards)” and slammed Rahul Gandhi’s outburst late last year publicly denouncing a controversial central government ordinance to convey his will to fight corruption. He termed it as mere “dikhawa” (farce) . Nitish went ahead to make Congress responsible for the 1984 anti Sikh riots and 1989 Bhagalpur riots. In a angry reaction, senior Congress leader and party spokesperson Prem Chandra Mishra said, “Attacking Congress and its leaders in this way is not only unethical but also like testing patience of Congress. Nitish should not forget that his government’s existence depends upon the crucial support of four Congress MLAs.”
Peeved Nitish was quick on rebuttal saying that anyone is free to withdraw support and he may go ahead even calling a special session for this purpose. The recent incidents leaves no room for any doubt that the souring the relationship between the Congress and JD(U) has touched its nadir.
Senior RJD leader and party spokesperson Manoj Jha said, “Nitish was initially planning to join hands with Congress largely with an intention to win over minority voters and to isolate RJD in the state (Bihar), but RJD and Congress are tested allies and the whole move basically backfired and he himself became isolated in Bihar politics.”
Some observers are of the view that Nitish is exploring the opportunity to become political martyr to boost his declining popularity particularly after parting ways with BJP and some senior party leaders like Shivanand Tiwary have raised the banner of revolt.
“It is ridiculous. On the hand he is slamming Congress for being responsible for 1984 anti-Sikh riots and 1989 Bhagalpur riots and yet taking its support for the survival of his government,” said senior BJP leader and former deputy chief minister Sushil Kumar Modi . He further elaborated that it was Congress that rejected JDU offer for alliance. Notwithstanding initial hesitation of Rahul Gandhi, especially after the conviction of Lalu Prasad, the alliance with the RJD has virtually been sealed. Many analysts are of the view that it may prove a game-changer in Bihar.
Sources within the Congress said that Rahul Gandhi has slightly changed his stand on conviction of Lalu Prasad in the fodder scam case. It is now being argued that the tie up is being done between two parties—the Congress and RJD—and not individuals. After all, Lalu would automatically not be contesting it because of conviction. Despite worst political drabbing in last couple of elections the party vote percentage hovered around 20 per cent hardly three to four percent less than ruling JD(U) makes it apparently clear that Lalu’s social base to a great extent is still intact and he is capable of transferring his core voters in favour of its other allies as seen in 2004 when together Congress- RJD- LJP captured 29 out of 40 seats. In contrast JD(U) will be facing the weight of incumbency in Bihar. With the worsening law and order situation, public resentment is growing fast against the Nitish Kumar government. Though RJD did not contest with the Congress in 2009, it stood strongly behind the UPA and opposed the saffron brigade. In contrast, the JD(U)’s long association with the BJP can never be forgotten. Congress decision-makers came to the conclusion that they would get Muslim, backward classes and Dalit votes, by aligning with the RJD, rather than with the JD(U). The Congress leadership found Lalu much more flexible.