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What will Nitish Kumar do in terms of alliance in Bihar ?




As a practical matter, Nitish Kumar has only a couple of options as we move forward and go toward the Lok Sabha elections (the next elections in Bihar are so far away that there is no need to think about it now). Nitish Kumar built his image as a person who would bring out Bihar from the dark ages of Laloo Prasad Yadav, and he took a number of initiatives towards that, getting a better rule of law, a higher growth rate, and so on. This success, when combined with the BJP, managed to attract people who had confidence in Nitish Kumar as well as did the proper caste arithmetic to get Nitish to power, and re-elected as well. However, this was coming to a conflict point for the past year or so, ever since it was clear that the BJP would go for a new leader, and this leader would be Narendra Modi. Now, for Nitish Kumar, this was a problem since he had also got support from a Muslim base, and the concept was that any party that was directly connected to Modi would lose the Muslim base. Till now, there was a fudging of the connection between Nitish and Modi, but with Modi being the leader of the BJP, there is no denying this link. But, this would not have been the single reason; Nitish would have done a number of calculations – after all, the loss of the BJP would have meant a loss of some of the electorate, and the only way is to get the support of another party, the Congress.
Things seemed to be moving that way, with the BJP striking hammer and tongs at Nitish, which allowed Nitish to show a distance between himself and Modi; further, with the sentencing of Laloo Prasad Yadav in the fodder scam, that was a mighty blow against the RJD which should have taken the RJD out of the picture altogether. All that was needed was for the Congress to make the right moves towards giving special economic status to Bihar, and Nitish and the JD(U) were getting close to what they wanted.
But then, things started moving in the other way. There were a sudden number of blots on Nitish, with a huge controversy on the poisoning of children in a school and inadequate Government response and the incredibly sudden poor condition of law and order, as shown when there were bombs in Modi’s rally which should have been removed by the local police, and now suddenly more cases of kidnapping; the strategy against Maoists is even getting criticized by a friendly Congress.
Next, the Congress did present a economic report that showed changing of criteria which showed Bihar as weak, showing the path towards getting special status, and yet the UPA Government did not take the required next steps, and in fact, the Planning Commission actually doubting the report, which meant that the Congress was not going to quickly provide special status. And then 2 more factors that screwed Nitish’s strategy further:
– Laloo Prasad Yadav managed to get bail and came out triumphant, and soon made a beeline for the Congress claiming that he was a natural ally for the Congress in Bihar, something that the Congress has not denied so far. This, along with no special status for Bihar from the UPA, puts Nitish in a quandary about an ally to choose.
– Another problem with taking the support of the Congress was established after the results of the 4 states came out on the 8th of December, 2013. This results showed that there was a wave against the Congress, and there is no reason that this wave would not be there in Bihar, so it might be counter-productive to try to strike an alliance with the Congress, and attract all the negative problems that it would bring to the alliance, especially to Nitish. He is already fighting a determined BJP that would seek to ensure that all the forward caste votes that it can galvanize go against Nitish.




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