Editorial: Nitish Kumar does it again

Editorial: Nitish Kumar does it again

FPJ EditorialUpdated: Sunday, January 28, 2024, 10:37 PM IST
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Nitish Kumar | File Photo

The comings and goings of Nitish Kumar have become so frequent that these no longer surprise anyone. The Janata Dal (U) leader makes a move to and fro while carrying the chief ministerial gaddi with him. Such is his good fortune that every time he ups and dumps his partner to return to the old one whom he had spurned only a few months previously, the latter is willing to accept him with open arms, on his terms. The latest manoeuvre which will see him return to the NDA fold was apparently dictated by a conspiracy to make Deputy Chief Minister Tejashwi Yadav the chief minister. Fearing that a section of the JD(U) was plotting to ease him out from the CM’s post with the active support of the RJD, Nitish first ousted Rajiv Ranjan Singh from the post of JD(U) president and himself became the party chief. Next, he turned his back on the I.N.D.I.A alliance, the one he had expended considerable energies on bringing to life in the hope of becoming its convenor. Dejected when Congress leader Mallikarjun Kharge became convenor of the Opposition alliance, Nitish now lost interest in forging an anti-BJP alliance, and has decided to return to the BJP fold and continue as chief minister. Though not everyone within the BJP is happy at this unreliable and untrustworthy customer, the need to sew up a big win in Bihar in the Lok Sabha poll seems to have cancelled out all resistance against Nitish’s return. There being no permanent friends or enemies in politics, Nitish and BJP together will fight the next Lok Sabha poll against the I.N.D.I.A grouping. Of course, Nitish’s somersault will further deliver a body blow to the nascent alliance which, after the outright rejection by Mamata Banerjee in West Bengal and AAP in Punjab, was already gasping for breath. With Nitish moving back to the NDA, even the caste card he had sought to play against the BJP would lose its sting. It is remarkable that Nitish landed the chief minister’s post even if his own party has fewer MLAs than the alliance partner. In the current Assembly, RJD has 79 MLAs, BJP 78 while the JD(U) has 45. Yet, both the RJD and the BJP agreed to let Nitish head the government. The low-level power games are nothing new to Bihar, a state at the bottom of most socio-economic indices. Good governance is alien to the state, though Nitish likes to be called Su-shashan (Good Governance) Babu.

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