‘Modi factor’ forces Laloo to accept Nitish as ‘leader’

News Bharati English    09-Jun-2015   
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New Delhi, June 9: Finally, the cat is out of the bag. The merger and unity of different hues of Janta parivar took a back seat over the propriety to defeat Narendra Modi. The confirmation by Laloo Prasad Yadav, the main architect and pioneer of Janata Parivar unity on the leadership of Nitish Kumar as Bihar’s probable Chief Minister explained this predicament of these leaders.

They are more interested in ‘defeating’ Modi than providing a viable and workable democratic alternative to the people of Bihar. Laloo made adjustments with his ‘ego’ and conceded to the Congress President Sonia Gandhi’s pressure to accept Nitish Kumar as chief ministerial candidate for Bihar elections. It is irony of fate that made Laloo, the staunch opponent of Nitish to propose his name for leadership!

Congress, which is struggling to find its lost space in Indian politics a seemingly difficult task to achieve, has aligned with these leaders of ‘Janata Parivar’ to try its luck. But the battle against Modi is not very easy, certainly not as it was in Delhi assembly elections. The Congress knows it very well but has no alternative to cling to these leaders who finished the party in that state.

Now the RJD, JDU and Congress will be aligned together against BJP and Narendra Modi in particular. There was no merger of these two parties but they agreed in principle to give a ‘tough fight’ to Modi under Nitish’s captaincy.

With this alignment, the possibility of polarization of political forces seems to be imminent in Bihar elections. The BJP had excelled in its performance in the Lok Sabha elections bagging 31 seats out of the total 40 decimating the Congress, and making Laloo and Nitish bite the dust. Against this background, the coming together of Laloo and Nitish is political compulsion. Laloo who did not miss a single opportunity to criticize Nitish, now singing praises for him. And this is because he wants to arrest the BJP juggernaut in Bihar.

Laloo is so obsessed with his ‘anti-Modi-ism’ that he even went to the extent of declaring that he would consume poison it that were to stop BJP from securing power in Bihar!

This utter frustration cemented the observation of BJP leader and Union Minister Ravishankar Prasad that coming together of Laloo and Nitish was a political compulsion of both the arch rivals. Obviously, the alliance is not on principles, ideology and programs but on one-point agenda –‘DEFEAT MODI’. However, some political observers feel that the BJP is thus compelled to project a better, competent and capable face in the ensuing Bihar elections to continue its winning spree.

With the alliance of RJD, JDU and Congress, the contest in Bihar is expected to become more tough and interesting for the BJP. It is not very easy to understand the electoral politics in Bihar and its finer nuances as the overall political scenario revolves round the caste factor. However, strongly you oppose castes and caste-based politics in Bihar, the votes are secured on the basis of castes only. The ensuing election too caste factor is expected to play a decisive role over the development plank of the BJP. How deftly the BJP handles this will be interesting to observe.

The dramatic ascent and descent of Nitish’s right hand Jitan Ram Manjhi to the top post will cost dearly to Nitish’s party. The hitherto support of the ‘Maha-Dalit’ votes to JDU may dwindle in favour of the BJP. Manjhi had given ample indication to this effect.    

The contest seems to be bipolar in Bihar with RJD, JDU, Congress and the Communists on one side and BJP, LJP and Upendra Kushwah’s party on the other. Congress does not have much influence in Bihar. In 2010, the vote share of Congress was 8.6 which came down to 8.42 in 2014. But it is in the pivotal position for ‘anti-BJP-ism’ because of its national status. However, it will be worth watching how the BJP plans its counter offensive to defeat this political alliance of convenience.  

How these parties will behave politically at the time of seat sharing and post the election results will remain interesting to watch. Though the elections to Bihar assembly are scheduled to be held in September, the stage is set for the important electoral battle that will prove to be trendsetter in days to come, especially for the BJP and Prime Minister Narendra Modi.