Explainer: Why Bihar coalition appears to be on the verge of collapse

Bihar is again set to see a new political formation as the coalition government in the state is nearly on the verge of a collapse. The ruling Janata Dal (United) is likely to announce the split from dominant alliance partner Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) soon. According to sources, it is most likely that the JD-U would again stich an alliance with the RJD-Cong combine to form an alternative government.

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Bihar CM has called a meeting of all MLAs and MPs of his party on Tuesday, amid reports of a widening rift with the BJP. This comes after top JDU leader RCP Singh, Kumar’s lone man in the Modi cabinet and seen close to the BJP, quit the party. Singh lashed out at the Bihar chief minister, calling him a “man full of vendetta”. Nitish was upset with Singh over his growing proximity to BJP. Singh had accepted a union cabinet berth without the party chief’s consent.

According to a Hindustan Times report, Nitish spoke to Congress president Sonia Gandhi, the BJP’s bête noire, over the phone, questions are being asked if he will again leave the BJP to join hands with the opposition: the RJD, the Congress and the Left.

According to sources, the new alliance was almost “a done deal minus some riders”. “Our first priority is to see the BJP out of power. According to an Indian Express report, the rest can be taken care of,” an RJD source said. Party leaders pointed to a recent statement by Tejashwi: “Sarkar ko itni zor se hilayenge ki gir jayegi (We will shake the government so hard, that it will fall).”

Nitish avoiding Modi

On Sunday, Nitish skipped a meeting of the Modi government think thank NITI Aayog chaired by the prime minister. He has skipped five BJP-linked meetings since July 17. By the evening, his party pulled out of the Modi government.

Nitish also skipped the banquet (July 22) hosted by PM Modi for outgoing President Ram Nath Kovind, and the swearing-in of new President Droupadi Murmu three days later.

Mistrust between the BJP and JD-U

The alliance between the two parties has never been cordial ever since the emergence of the Modi-Shah in the saffron party. Notably, Nitish had snapped ties with the BJP following the ascendance of Narendra Modi only to realign with the BJP after relation with RJD soured on several issues.

Both the BJP and the JD-U have been in the tug of war with each blaming the other for not adhering to the coalition dharma. While the JD-U often alleges that the BJP is trying to break the party, the BJP accuses Nitish Kumar of not consulting it in taking decisions. The latest incident in Maharashtra has bolstered the belief among a section of the JD-U leaders that the saffron party is actively trying to engineer a split in the party. The JD(U) has recently said that its alliance with the BJP for the 2024 national polls and the state election the following year is not sealed.

Nitish Past

Nitish Kumar came to limelight of Bihar politics in 1990 when he helped his senior in then Janata Dal, Lalu Prasad, become the chief minister of the state. He used to call Lalu Yadav his ‘badey bhai (elder brother)’. But he rebelled against Lalu’s control Janata Dal in 1994. He allied with veteran socialist George Fernandes to form the Samata Party. In 2003, the George Fernandes-led Samata Party and the Sharad Yadav-led Janata Dal (United) merged. The JD(U)-BJP alliance was born in 1998. On June 16, 2013, Nitish Kumar ended a 17-year-old alliance with the BJP after Modi was appointed as the Chairman of BJP’s Lok Sabha election campaign committee. – INDIA NEWS STREAM

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