Nitish a past master at retaining power

Nitish a past master at retaining power
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Master of ‘U’ turns has done it again. Nitish Kumar who is a veteran politician felt that it was time for him to take corrective measures if he were to retain power in the next elections.

Master of 'U' turns has done it again. Nitish Kumar who is a veteran politician felt that it was time for him to take corrective measures if he were to retain power in the next elections. He realised that the BJP was growing at its expense in Bihar and his long tenure as Chief Minister has led to growing anti-incumbency factor in the state.

The political crisis in Maharashtra which led to a split in Shiv Sena and Uddhav Thackeray losing his chief ministerial post also seems to have forced Nitish Kumar to make some quick moves and bid goodbye to the alliance with BJP. Though the BJP knew what was going to happen it did not make efforts to stop Nitish. The BJP feels that the graph of Nitish is going down.

BJP and Nitish had ideological differences on several issues and Nitish seems to have felt that sailing with BJP would affect his Muslim vote bank. It appears, Nitish felt that BJP had succeeded in weaning away a good section of OBCs and upper caste voters and if he continues to be part of NDA, the Muslims may also drift away and it could adversely impact his image of being a progressive, socialist and secular leader.

There is a growing feeling among the non-BJP parties that the BJP wants to politically weaken the regional parties. Bihar has many regional parties, and JD(U) led by Nitish is also a regional party. Hence, he must have felt that it was time to take a 'U' turn and cosy up to RJD.

It's all a matter of number game. In the last elections, JD (U) got only 45 seats while BJP got 7, RJD got 79 and Congress 19. It will again be a triangular fight in the next elections. If this combination can remain united till then, Nitish must have felt that he will have a chance to come to power again and BJP will not be able to topple the government.

One thing that needs to be recognised is that Nitish is a leader who can take firm decisions. He had been constantly opposing many decisions of the BJP though he was part of NDA. He strongly mooted the proposal for caste census much against the wishes of the BJP. He opposed the proposal to conduct an all-India NRC (National Register of Citizen) to establish the antecedents of those who live in India and claim Indian citizenship. He is also ruthless with those who do not tow his line. We have seen how party national vice-president and political strategist Prashant Kishore was expelled from the party. Nitish Kumar has repeatedly made his message clear – "Don't mess with Me."

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