In August final 12 months, Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar did yet one more political U-turn. Stating that he needed to forge unity among the many Opposition events earlier than the 2024 normal elections, Mr. Kumar joined fingers with the Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD). He additionally hinted that he would cross the mantle to Deputy Chief Minister and RJD chief Tejashwi Yadav. Mr. Kumar’s ideological infidelity is well-known. After coming to energy in Bihar in November 2005, the eight-time Chief Minister has ditched the Bharatiya Janata Party twice (in 2013 and 2022) and the RJD as soon as (in 2017). But all alongside, he has managed to remain in energy — a sign of his manoeuvering abilities and political acumen.
Janata Dal (United) leaders mission Mr. Kumar as a chief ministerial candidate. Although he has denied nurturing such ambitions, not too long ago, whereas enterprise the Samadhan Yatra (answer journey) throughout the State, Mr. Kumar stated he might tour the nation to forge Opposition unity after the Budget session of the State. But latest occasions recommend that every one is just not going nicely for him.
At the Khammam rally, organised by Telangana Chief Minister Okay. Chandrashekhar Rao, Mr. Kumar was conspicuous by his absence. He performed down his absence by saying he didn’t know concerning the occasion. The embarrassment was compounded by the presence of three different Chief Ministers on the rally — Arvind Kejriwal, Bhagwant Singh Mann and Pinarayi Vijayan. Though Mr. Rao, who has additionally taken it upon himself to forge unity among the many Opposition events, and Mr. Kumar met a while again, it’s not identified what transpired between them.
To add to Mr. Kumar’s woes, there may be rising disharmony between the JD(U) and the RJD. In the previous few months, the leaders of each events have been slamming one another over some controversial assertion or the opposite. A couple of months in the past, RJD MLA Sudhakar Singh, who’s the son of Bihar RJD president Jagdanand Singh, was pressured to resign as Agriculture Minister after elevating allegations of corruption in his personal division. Since then, Mr. Singh has been attacking Mr. Kumar on a spread of points, together with the latest deaths in Chhapra attributable to consumption of hooch. Mr. Singh’s remarks in opposition to the Chief Minister, likening him to the Mahabharata character Shikhandi, invited sharp criticism from the JD(U) in early January.
On January 23, the rift between the 2 events turned all of the extra seen at a operate in Patna to mark the demise anniversary of Rajput warrior king Maharana Pratap. Mr. Kumar was additionally current on the occasion. JD(U) chief Vijay Kumar Singh demanded an unconditional apology from RJD MLA and Education Minister Chandrashekhar on the occasion for the latter’s controversial remarks on the Ramcharitmanas. And earlier than that controversy died down, one other RJD Minister, Alok Mehta remarked that those that tolled bells at temples had been now ruling States. This was seen as a reference to Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath. JD(U) leaders fear that such controversial remarks are antagonising a bit of individuals.
There are additionally different considerations. In December final 12 months, Mr. Kumar introduced that Mr. Yadav would lead the Grand Alliance within the 2025 Bihar elections. Political circles in Bihar are abuzz with the hearsay that the handover is a part of an settlement between each the events. Many consider that the handover will happen this 12 months. But political analyst Ajay Kumar believes it can all rely on the outcomes of the 2024 polls. “If Prime Minister Narendra Modi comes back to power, Mr. Kumar may rethink his strategy,” he says.
Meanwhile, JD(U) parliamentary board chairman Upendra Kushwaha has demanded that the Chief Minister convene a gathering of the nationwide govt and reveal what kind of deal he has struck with the RJD. He additionally desires the nationwide govt to debate whether or not the JD(U) has weakened in latest instances. BJP Rajya Sabha MP and former Deputy Chief Minister Sushil Kumar Modi has added to the hearsay mills by saying that the JD(U) might quickly merge with the RJD. Mr. Kushwaha was fast to react to this saying, “A merger would be suicidal for the party.”
Mr. Kumar has not been in a position to do a lot besides deny this transfer. The Chief Minister has evidently mastered the artwork of surviving in politics, however these points might pose roadblocks to his nationwide ambitions.