Why the Blame Rests on Mamata Banerjee and Arvind Kejriwal

New Delhi: After days of hypothesis, Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar resigned from his place Sunday morning, after his get together Janata Dal (United) determined to finish its alliance with the Rashtriya Janata Dal. He then took oath as chief minister for the ninth time and shaped a brand new authorities with the help of the Bharatiya Janata Party. Over the final two months, rumours that Nitish could be part of the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance once more had been rife however the chief minister’s silence over the matter, whilst he publicly expressed his anguish over lack of any progress in the INDIA bloc no less than twice, left the political pot boiling.

It was solely after submitting his resignation to the governor, Rajendra Arlekar, on Sunday morning that Nitish confirmed all rumours, giving little likelihood to his former allies in INDIA to barter, cajole or persuade him to remain in the opposition alliance. This lent additional credence to the impression that Nitish had already determined to half methods with the opposition.

“I have resigned as CM today and have asked the Governor to put an end to this government. Party leaders were giving me advice. I heard what they said and have resigned. The situation was not good. So, we have broken ties,” Nitish mentioned in his standard taciturn model whereas asserting his choice, however extra importantly added, “We were working on an alliance (INDIA) for the last 1.5 years but things were not working out. Now, we will form a new alliance.”

Like in the previous, when he equally switched camps, he evaded showing in the public to make clear doubts, remained unreachable to his allies who tried to contact him a number of occasions, and targeted solely on mapping out the contours of the take care of the saffron get together forward of the 2024 Lok Sabha elections.

Chasing Nitish’s political ambitions

Ever since Nitish secured his first full-term tenure as the chief minister in 2005, he has barely been in an oppositional house. Barring just a few months right here and there, each choice that the septuagenarian chief took reasserted his personal indispensability in Bihar, even when making new alliances. He has survived, and survived past anybody’s creativeness, whereas remaining in energy or pulling the strings of energy ceaselessly.

There is little doubt that Nitish had his personal political ambitions in thoughts each time he switched camps. He remained with the BJP to compete with the major rival RJD in Bihar for years, however ended this alliance as he may foresee the destiny of allies with the seemingly totalitarian Narendra Modi’s ascent at the Centre. Nitish recharged his personal place by quitting the NDA and beating the BJP with the assist of its arch rival RJD in the 2015 state meeting polls. Having delivered a placing message to Modi about his political significance, he went again to the NDA the place he had been the most snug in his profession.

His relationship with the BJP, nonetheless, took the largest hit when the Modi-Shah duo allegedly engineered substantial losses for the Janata Dal (United) with the assist of Lok Janshakti Party’s Chirag Paswan in the 2020 meeting polls. BJP, for the first time in state’s historical past, ended up with its finest tally (74), whereas Janata Dal completed with considered one of its worst performances as a NDA constituent with merely 43 seats. Things took a remaining hit when he misplaced his closest aide R.C.P. Singh to the BJP. Singh was swiftly made a Union minister, whilst the BJP tried to poach JD(U)’s legislators.

Nitish was at the time the solely distinguished BJP ally in India as others like Shiv Sena, Shiromani Akali Dal (Badal) or Telugu Desam Party had already left the NDA due to the Modi-Shah duo’s alleged disregard for alliance politics. Yet, Nitish survived by rapidly becoming a member of ranks with the RJD, this time with a nationwide objective to assist create a bigger opposition entrance in opposition to the Modi-led BJP.

Nitish is now again in the NDA, masterfully securing his place as the most dear ally of the BJP in Bihar but once more. The saffron get together hadn’t missed a window to clamp down on Nitish in the final two years. Its senior leaders hit out at Nitish on virtually a every day foundation, with even the prime minister lashing out at him fairly just a few occasions in his speeches. Nitish’s rule was in contrast by the BJP to a jungle raaj, as BJP leaders constructed a marketing campaign round alleged corruption, misgovernance, and failing regulation and order in Bihar.

How Nitish operated by way of this mesh of political dynamics is understood, however by accepting him once more, the Modi-led BJP has proven that it prioritises its electoral ambitions way more than its rhetoric of fine governance and political ethics.

A giant blow for INDIA

However, Nitish’s exit will come as a merciless blow for the INDIA bloc. In extra methods than one, Nitish was the chief architect of INDIA. Over the final two years, he had handed over Bihar’s reins to his deputy Tejashwi Yadav, whereas touring the nation to deliver collectively a variety of regional and nationwide events beneath a typical umbrella. Most of those events have been traditionally inimical to the Congress. Bringing all of them collectively to ally with the Congress required negotiations that solely a senior chief with political acumen like Nitish may have carried out.

Meanwhile, he was instrumental in conducting a caste survey in Bihar, which gave a fillip to the opposition events, together with the Congress. The demand for a pan-India caste census re-energised Mandal politics and put the BJP on the backfoot, even when briefly. At the identical time, the Nitish authorities foregrounded points like employment and welfare in the previous couple of months by appointing over three lakh youth in state authorities jobs.

After the preliminary success of INDIA as a entrance, that additionally fended off the chance of a 3rd entrance in 2024 Lok Sabha polls, the Bihar chief minister displayed his frustration with its lack of progress. His first dissent got here in November 2023 when he confirmed his anguish over Congress’s lethargic approach towards the opposition front at a time when the grand-old get together’s sole focus was on the meeting polls in 5 states.

The Congress misplaced all the three Hindi-heartland states, regardless of displaying nice confidence in the run-up to the polls. However, if somebody must take the blame in triggering Nitish’s exit, they should be the chief ministers of West Bengal and Delhi, Mamata Banerjee and Arvind Kejriwal. The two leaders mooted the concept of creating Congress president Mallikarjun Kharge INDIA’s prime ministerial candidate in the long-delayed INDIA assembly in New Delhi on December 19, 2023.

The assembly referred to as by the Congress was purported to occur on December 6, 2023 however leaders like Banerjee and Kejriwal expressed their unavailability, indicating their discomfort with the alliance. Then, when the assembly occurred ultimately, the two leaders surprisingly floated the concept of Kharge as the prime ministerial candidate with out discussing it with any of the different leaders. This was at a time when the Congress was recovering from its losses in meeting elections and had lots of explaining to do in entrance of its companions.

Moreover, discussions on prime ministerial candidates seemed to be untimely, when fundamentals like seat-sharing, marketing campaign technique and joint motion programmes had not been finalised. The proven fact that TMC spokespersons went on file after the fourth INDIA assembly on December 19 to counsel that INDIA will finalise seat-sharing by December 31 additionally regarded unbelievable, forcing Congress’s normal secretary (organisation) Ok.C. Venugopal and RJD chief Lalu Prasad to refute the TMC of their statements.

One could recall how Nitish had braved media questions on a possible prime ministerial candidate for the INDIA bloc when he was assembly leaders to formalise the alliance. Having recognized the BJP’s desire to scale back the 2024 Lok Sabha polls right into a “Modi vs ‘who’” presidential model, Nitish had floated the concept of a “collective leadership” in INDIA and persistently maintained that the alliance will battle the Lok Sabha polls by highlighting the considerations of frequent individuals and canvassing in opposition to BJP’s alleged authoritarian and centralising impulses.

The mischievous strikes by Banerjee and Kejriwal, who’ve now made their minds clear by asserting that there might be no alliance with the Congress in West Bengal and Punjab, undermined Nitish and different regional leaders of INDIA, and created a political narrative that was vastly totally different from what INDIA leaders had initially supposed.

Given how Nitish had already expressed his view about the supposed “lack of seriousness” in India, Congress’s hasty choice to coach its vitality on the second spherical of the Bharat Jodo Nyay Yatra in the run-up to the Lok Sabha polls, even earlier than the alliance’s marketing campaign technique was chalked out, could have come as a remaining nail in the coffin.

Nitish has not bothered with monikers like “chameleon” or “kursi (chair) Kumar” and even “paltu ram” thrown at him ever in his political profession. He has by no means owned ideological ethics. He has quite taken pleasure in his pragmatism and effectiveness. With Nitish’s exit, the formidable opposition alliance in Bihar and its 40 Lok Sabha seats has damaged. The INDIA bloc, too, will sorely miss his strategic considering and political acumen in taking on the dominant BJP. Nitish may have been an asset for the alliance, given his deep political expertise in the Hindi heartland.

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