All does not appear to be hunky dory between Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar and the Bharatiya Janata Party. Months after Nitish Kumar’s Janata Dal (United) dumped the Grand Alliance, throwing Lalu Yadav’s Rashtriya Janata Dal out of power in the state, to return to the NDA fold, speculation is rife of the JD(U) being unhappy with the Centre over a number of reasons. Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s lavish praise for the CM at his Motihari visit on Tuesday may suggest otherwise, but reports claim that the JD(U) is unhappy with its absence in the Modi government at the Centre. The alleged communal remarks by certain Union ministers from Bihar after the Assembly Elections have also added fuel to the fire. So, will the situation mark another turn of fortunes for the powers that be in Bihar.
Not so soon, sources say. According to a report in The Indian Express citing sources, Nitish Kumar’s party is unlikely to follow examples such as those of the Telugu Desam Party which pulled out of the NDA or the Shiv Sena that announced contesting elections on its own. The Nitish Kumar government has no intention of parting ways from the BJP. And there is good reason. Nitish Kumar would know well that after dismantling the ‘Maha Gathbandhan’ following his bitter fallout with Lalu’s RJD and the Congress, there is no chance of getting back into the alliance. Nitish would also know that if its decides to part ways with the BJP, the JD(U) will find it diffcult to survive an election on its own. In the last Assembly elections that JD(U) fought in alliance with the RJD, Nitish’s party bagged 71 seats in the 243 seat strong state assembly.
After opting out of the Grand Alliance with the RJD and Congress in July 2017, JD(U) formed a fresh government with the BJP. JD(U) gave 13 ministerial berths to the BJP MLAs, that included deputy CM’s post to Sushil Kumar Modi. However, BJP hasn’t been that reciprocating to the Nitish government. As per sources cited by The Indian Express, it is BJP’s unilateral style that is irking Nitish Kumar. This included Parliamentary Affairs Minister Ananth Kumar’s decision to straightaway announce that MPs from alliance partners would not draw salary and allowances for 23 days during which Parliament did not function in the Budget Session. Moreover, Nitish Kumar is also upset over the communal remarks of Union ministers Giriraj Singh and Ashwini Kumar Choubey during and after the Bihar byelections where the NDA lost.
Meanwhile, amid the current political fiasco, PM Narendra Modi has heaped praise on Nitish Kumar, easing out the troublesome situation for now. At the Champaran Satyagraha’s centenary celebrations in Motihari yesterday, PM Modi praised Nitish Kumar for working to turn Bihar open defecation free and for building a large number of toilets in a short time. He also lauded government officials, including IAS officers, for doing excellent work on the sanitation front. He also pledged to fulfil the sanitation dream of Mahatma Gandhi. Modi said the sanitation and cleanliness drive of his government was a people’s movement and it was the largest such campaign in any country.
Courtesy: FE Online