BJP’s big hope in Bihar is Nitish doing another ‘paltimar’, ditching Lalu

Patna: Bihar is important for both the NDA and the INDIA blocs in the context of the 2024 Lok Sabha election and Chief Minister Nitish Kumar is holding the key to opening its gates for whichever side he chooses.

At present, he is standing with the INDIA bloc and this is the reason why the BJP-led NDA cannot relax till the 2024 Lok Sabha poll keeping in view that the INDIA leaders have only one plan — to cut 40 to 50 seats from the NDA tally from the three states of Bihar, West Bengal and Jharkhand.

In the 2019 Lok Sabha election, the BJP won 18 seats in West Bengal, 17 in Bihar and 12 seats in Jharkhand.

In West Bengal, its Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee-led TMC is strongly opposing the BJP. In Jharkhand, the Hemant Soren-led JMM and the Congress are fighting the BJP. But in Bihar, keeping in mind the ‘Paltimar’ (changing sides) track record of Nitish Kumar, the BJP still harbours hopes.

The BJP think tank knows that if RJD leader Lalu Prasad Yadav and Nitish Kumar contest together in Bihar, a big chunk of the Dalit, Mahadalit, Muslim, OBC and EBC vote bank will go with them and they would easily win the contest. The BJP would have only the upper castes and the votes of the trader community and that will not be good enough for it.

In case Nitish Kumar goes with the BJP, a sizable number of Dalit, Mahadalit, Muslim, OBC and EBC voters will vote for the NDA and retaining its 17 seats in Bihar would be easy for the saffron brigade.

The BJP realises that if Nitish Kumar and Lalu Prasad contest jointly in Bihar, they would repeat their performance in the 2015 assembly election when the RJD got 80 seats, the JD-U 69 and the BJP 59 seats.

Compared to that when Nitish Kumar went with the BJP, his party JD-U got only 43 seats and the BJP 74. At that time, Nitish Kumar and other leaders of the JD-U levelled conspiracy charges against the BJP. The BJP leaders always referred to the 2019 Lok Sabha election when their party had won 17 seats, the JD-U 16 and the LJP 6. The seats of the JD-U increased due to the campaign of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the BJP, the saffron party claimed.

The differences between the JD-U and the BJP arose post the 2019 Lok Sabha poll results. The JD-U wanted a cabinet and two state minister portfolios in the second tenure of the Narendra Modi government while the BJP was not ready for it. The BJP offered only one post of cabinet minister and it had given only one cabinet berth during the second expansion of the cabinet and made RCP Singh the Union steel minister.

Apart from that, BJP national president JP Nadda’s statement to finish the regional parties also hurt Nitish Kumar and made him jump ship in Bihar. He formed the government with the help of the RJD, Congress and the Left parties.

If Nitish Kumar stays with INDIA in the Lok Sabha election 2024, the BJP is expected to do poorly in Bihar.

After the resignation of Lalan Singh from the post of national president of the JD-U, Nitish Kumar took the reins of the party into his own hands. With this, he can take decisions on his own and going with the NDA cannot be ruled out.

“Nitish Kumar is an unpredictable person who generally surprises people. If he had not become the national president of the party by removing Lalan Singh, the JD-U might have split. He has saved the JD-U from splitting for now. After becoming national president of the party, he can stand before Lalu Prasad Yadav to counter him. The country is surprised as Nitish Kumar who started good governance with the support of the BJP is now sitting in the lap of Lalu Prasad,” said Nikhil Anand, national general secretary of the BJP’s OBC wing.

“Nitish Kumar is the undisputed leader of the JD-U and this was stated by Lalan Singh himself. Lalan Singh quit the party’s national president’s post and proposed Nitish Kumar as the new national president. If the name of any other leader had been proposed many questions would have arisen. Maybe one section would have accepted it and the other not,” said Mritunjay Tiwari, spokesperson of the RJD.

“All the news in the media have no truth. If Nitish Kumar wants to go with the NDA, no one in the JD-U will stop him. So, making allegations against Lalan Singh that he is close to Lalu Prasad Yadav is not right,” Tiwari said.

However, Nitish Kumar will face the heat from both the sides on his chief minister’s post. Lalu Prasad wants his son Tejashwi Yadav to become the chief minister and the BJP wants its own chief minister in Bihar.

IANS

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