Who will have the last laugh?

PM Modi and Nitish Kumar during a function in Patna

New Delhi: Opportunism and arrogance make or mar the prospects in politics, but the way it happened in Bihar has surprised many. The developments were on the expected lines as increased bonhomie between Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar and prime minister Narendra Modi, post-demonetisation, has already indicated it. But RJD supremo Lalu Prasad’s stand that his son and deputy chief minister Yashaswi Yadav, facing corruption charges, would not resign perhaps precipitated it.

Although Nitish Kumar is accused of being “opportunist” and his past being cited for ditching many a leader, he must have weighed all the options prior to taking this step– termed as the biggest “political surrender” of the non-Congress era politics.

Amidst speculations as to why did Nitish Kumar resort to take this decision, we must look at his earlier statements wherein he virtually recognised the BJP might under Narendra Modi, especially after Uttar Pradesh assembly polls.

The graying leader, possessive of his clean image, was perhaps fed up with alleged day-today interference of Lalu Prasad in the administrative functioning of the state. The image he assiduously built up through his hard work was being dented by his silence and inaction over the Yadav family’s involvement in corruption cases.

The Presidential election gave him the first opportunity to toe his own course albeit, at the cost of opposition unity.

His yielding is expected to benefit BJP the most because in the ruling party’s scheme of things dalits and backwards are priority for consolidation of its votebank ahead of 2019 elections. Nitish Kumar, who had devised mahadalit formula to expand his political base a decade ago, would facilitate the acceptance of BJP in this segment as the latter has been confronting anti-dalit criticism.

In this quid pro quo arrangement, if any, the Congress party has been hit hard as its initiative for a Mahagathbandhan against the BJP seems to have lost the luster.

Nitish Kumar, who was nourishing to be projected as the coalition face against the BJP, perhaps realised that Congress would not be ready to do so. Visualising it, his shrewd move may be a calculative step to nurture his clean and administrative image to get ready for the future manoeuvres.

Goindianews Bureau

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