Has Nitish Kumar's alliance with BJP reached a breaking point? Know all about what's happening in Bihar

In case the JD(U) severes ties with BJP and takes the help of the 'Mahagathbandhan', it can easily form a government in the politically important state.

FPJ Web DeskUpdated: Monday, August 08, 2022, 06:39 PM IST
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Has Nitish Kumar's alliance with BJP reached a breaking point? Know all about what's happening in Bihar | PTI Photo

The Left would welcome any re-alignment of forces in Bihar's ruling coalition that excludes the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), communist parties said on Monday, after news broke of disagreements between NDA partners JD(U) and the saffron camp.

While the CPIML(L), which is the largest Left party in Bihar with 12 MLAs, said that it "will extend a helping hand" if JD(U) were to ditch the BJP and set up or join a new coalition, the CPI(M) said that "if a new alignment were to take place, it would be a positive development".

The opposition RJD also said it was ready to "embrace" Chief Minister Nitish Kumar and his JD(U) if he broke ranks with the BJP.

"If Nitish chooses to dump NDA, what choice do we have except to embrace him ('gale lagaenge'). RJD is committed to fighting the BJP. If the chief minister decides to join this fight, we will have to take him along," said RJD national vice-president Shivanand Tiwary.

The Congress, meanwhile, has convened a meeting of its legislature party in Bihar to discuss the political situation in the state and will "welcome" Chief Minister Nitish Kumar into the opposition camp if he chose to snap ties with BJP.

"We always believe that parties with similar ideologies (samaan vichardhara) should come together. If the CM's JD(U), which believes in socialist ideology, quits BJP we will definitely welcome it. But these are early days. We will discuss the unfolding situation at the meeting in the evening", AICC secretary Shakil Ahmed Khan told PTI-Bhasha over phone.

Also, Nitish on Sunday reportedly had a telephonic conversation with Congress President Sonia Gandhi. News agency IANS quoted sources as saying that the two leaders discussed the formation of a new government in Bihar.

Has Nitish Kumar's alliance with BJP reached a breaking point?

Speculation is rife in Bihar that Nitish is likely to move out from NDA and join the Mahagathbandhan. He has called a meeting of all JD(U) MLAs and MPs tomorrow. "We will take a decision tomorrow after all our leaders review the situation," said one of Bihar's most senior ministers, Vijay Choudhary, who is also known for being a close confidante of Nitish Kumar. Meanwhile, JD(U) leaders have accused the BJP of trying to split the party by operating against the CM.

The frayed ties between the two parties were clearly visible after Nitish skipped the Niti Aayog meeting, and his party the JD(U) on Sunday announced that that it will not send any representative to the central cabinet. This follows a series of disagreements between them over a host of issues including caste census, population control and the 'Agnipath' defence recruitment scheme.

Among many reasons of Nitish's growing friction with the BJP one is he perceives that Union Minister Amit Shah is attempting to "remote control" Bihar, sources told NDTV. And to register his protest, he has skipped several key meetings called by Shah and PM Modi, sources added.

Nitish was also upset after his party was offered only a single berth in the Union cabinet in June 2019. Later, his former JD(U) colleague RCP Singh was given a spot in the cabinet last year reportedly without consulting him. The Bihar CM reportedly saw Singh as a proxy for Shah and refused to give him an extension as a Rajya Sabha MP, which meant he had to resign as a union minister. He has quit the party and has been firing salvos against Nitish.

What do the numbers say?

The 'Mahagathbandhan' (Grand Alliance) of which the Left parties, RJD and Congress are a part, had won 110 seats in the 2020 state elections with RJD securing 75 seats to be the largest party in the state. The BJP had bagged 74 seats out of the 125 seats won by the NDA, but with the defection of legislators from its ally VIP, the saffron party is now the single largest party in Bihar.

However, in case the JD(U) severes ties with BJP and takes the help of the 'Mahagathbandhan', it can easily form a government in the politically important state.

(With PTI inputs)

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