News APP

NewsApp (Free)

Read news as it happens
Download NewsApp

Available on  gplay  » News » Nitish To Hold Sway Over BJP

Nitish To Hold Sway Over BJP

By Kumar Abhishek
June 05, 2024 18:54 IST
Get Rediff News in your Inbox:

With Nitish Kumar on its side, a BJP-led government may feel increased pressure to conduct a nationwide caste-based census.

IMAGE: Janata Dal-United President Nitish Kumar and Lallan Singh, the former JD-U president who won the 2024 Lok Sabha electon from Munger, being garlanded during an election rally in support of Kaushlendra Kumar, the party candidate from the Nalanda Lok Sabha constituency, in Hilsa. Photograph: ANI Photo

Addressing a joint press conference in Patna after an almost four hour meeting of Opposition leaders on June 23, 2023, Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar had said: '17 parties have decided to work together and contest the Lok Sabha elections unitedly.'

That meeting eventually led to the formation of the Indian National Developmental Inclusive Alliance, or INDIA.

But he was the first to leave it, reportedly after being sidelined by INDIA members, especially the Congress.

He returned to the Bharatiya Janata Party-led National Democratic Alliance and now holds the key to power at the Centre.

And with Kumar, who is known to switch sides, the NDA cannot sit easy.

The JD-U won 12 seats as did the BJP, which contested 17 seats.

Jitan Ram Manjhi, a long-time political partner of Kumar and chief of the Hindustani Awam Morcha, will make his Lok Sabha debut from Gaya constituency, and he usually switches sides along with Kumar.

JD-U leaders asserted that the Bihar leader will not change sides this time.

'Under the leadership of Nitish Kumar, the JD-U once again expresses its support for the NDA,' party spokesperson K C Tyagi was heard saying on television channels on Tuesday.

At the same time, the JD-U shared a cryptic post on X.

Sharing a video of Kumar, the party wrote, 'Nyay ke sath vikas ka sankalp ho raha poora (The resolution for development with justice is being fulfilled).' The Congress' manifesto is called Nyay Patra.

The JD-U's good performance could have a direct impact on state politics as the BJP, which is a larger party in the assembly (it won 74 seats in 2020 poll versus the former's 43), may be forced to give Kumar a longer rope to continue as CM until the next assembly polls.

Also, with Kumar on its side, a BJP-led government may feel increased pressure to conduct a nationwide caste-based census -- a demand championed by the Congress and a few other Opposition parties.

Under Kumar's leadership, Bihar conducted a caste survey and raised caste-based reservation in government jobs and educational institutions from 50 per cent to 60 per cent.

Another challenge for the BJP could be to balance its equations with the JD-U and the Chirag Paswan-led Lok Janshakti Party (Ram Vilas), which appears to have struck gold with all its five candidates winning by comfortable margins.

Notwithstanding the recent bonhomie, the past four years have seen bitter discord between the two parties that started with Paswan fielding candidates against the JD-U in the 2020 assembly polls.

On the other hand, if Kumar opts to go with the INDIA bloc, he would be partnering the Rashtriya Janata Dal and its leader Tejashwi Yadav, who has been nursing chief ministerial dreams for long.

The previous JD-U-RJD alliances have proved unstable.

The RJD, which has been the single largest party in the assembly for a decade, appeared to be coming out with another below par performance in this Lok Sabha poll too.

However, unlike the 2019 elections, when it drew a blank, it won four seats, including Patliputra, where party supremo Lalu Prasad's daughter Misa Bharti defeated the BJP's Ram Kripal Yadav.

Her younger sister Rohini Acharya lost to BJP veteran Rajiv Pratap Rudy in Saran.

Feature Presentation: Aslam Hunani/

Get Rediff News in your Inbox:
Kumar Abhishek
Source: source
India Votes 2024

India Votes 2024