When the BJP triumvirate -- Amit Anilchandra Shah, Jagat Prakash Nadda and Bommarabettu Laxmijanardhana Santhosh -- descended on Patna on Sunday, July 31, 2022 and met with party MLAs and MPs, it appeared to political observers that despite declarations that the BJP would contest the 2024 Lok Sabha election and the 2025 Bihar assembly election in alliance with the JD-U, it was time for Chief Minister Nitish Kumar to make his move.
Months earlier, the old warhorse had via well publicised iftar party appearances, signalled his rapprochement with the Rashtriya Janata Dal, leading to Tuesday's break-up of the NDA government in Bihar and the swearing in of a JD-U-RJD Mahagathbandan replacement.
The momentum for Nitish Kumar's decision came with events in distant Mumbai where the BJP masterminded a coup against Uddhav Thackeray's goverment by splitting the Shiv Sena.
Nitish, like every other non-BJP chief minister in the country, knew his party flock was vulnerable to the BJP's many methods of persuasion. By quickly forming a government, he has prevented his legislators -- at least for now -- from wanting to leave the JD-U for BJP promises of future ministerial positions.
Of course, the Gujarati gentlemen with elephantine memories for political slights, have known of Nitish's intentions -- only the timing may have been a surprise -- and are unlikely to rest till they bring him down as they did another ally who stood up to them.
If Nitish is as shrewd a practitioner of realpolitik as he is billed to be, we'd like to see if he can do the unthinkable -- break up the BJP legislature party in Bihar.