Nitish’s great gamble

In his biggest political gamble yet, Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar on Sunday walked out of the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) in protest against the elevation of Narendra Modi, bringing to an end the 17- year- old alliance between the Janata Dal (United) and the BJP.

Blaming the BJP squarely for the unsavoury turn of events within the coalition, he also sacked all 11 saffron ministers from the state cabinet on the charge of dereliction of duty and decided to seek a trust vote on the floor of the assembly on Wednesday in view of the new situation.

Political observers, however, believe that Nitish’s decision is fraught with grave risks as the BJP will not only emerge as a formidable opposition but also put his party in a tough electoral fight in the state. Nitish, who had been asking the BJP to desist from putting the Gujarat chief minister in the forefront ahead of the next Lok Sabha  elections, said the JD (U) was compelled to opt out of the NDA because of some recent developments within its coalition party.; “ We cannot compromise on our basic principles, values and our stand on core issues which are central to the ethos of our party,” he said. “ We do not care for consequences.”

What the future holds

Nitish’s decision to snap ties with the BJP over the Modi issue is apparently aimed at wooing the crucial Muslim voters, who make up 16.4 per centof Bihar’s electorate. The JD(U) leader has his reasons to believe that hiscarefully cultivated segments of extremely backward castes- Mahadalits- Muslim combination will help him at the hustings as Muslim- Yadav (MY) factor worked for 15 years for Lalu Prasad. But it remains a moot point whether his anti-Modi stand will earn him the decisive Muslim votes in future. At least in the recent Maharajganj Lok Sabha by- poll, it did not.

His biggest worry would be losing the upper caste votes after the JD(U)’ s exit from the NDA. It may not be easy to sway the Bhumihar, Brahmin and Rajput voters with the BJP fighting against his party now. Lashing out at Nitish, his erstwhile deputy chief minister Sushil Kumar Modi said the JD(U) is wary of the rise of Narendra Modi because it fears that he might erode its vote base because he belonged to the backward castes and could polarise votes. Sushil said Narendra Modi was an honest politician and had risen from a poor, backward family.

“Besides, he is not a product of dynastic politics. All these factors have made him a threat for some people.” Sushil said the JDU was pursuing ‘politics of convenience’ as far as secularism was concerned. “ Almost all the leaders of the BJP have been branded communal but all parties, except the Congress, have tied up with the BJP in the past. Even CPI has joined hands with it in Bihar,” he added., however, said the alliance had been running smoothly in Bihar and he wanted it to continue but “external interference” in the BJP had started creating problems within the party inrecent times. He said in today’s era of coalition politics when no national party was likely to get absolute majority in the general elections, the BJP should have made efforts to expand the NDA rather than reducing it. “ Nobody should have any illusions of any wave favouring them in the next elections,” he said, alluding to BJP leaders’ all-out support for Modi. Claiming that the people of Bihar had given their mandate for the development of Bihar only, Nitish said that he had invited the Bihar BJP leaders for talks on Saturday but they did not turn up. “The BJP ministers also refrained from attending the cabinet meet today and stopped performing their duties. This was a strange phenomenon in a parliamentary democracy. I have, therefore, recommended dismissal of the 11 ministers to the Governor.”

End of uncertainty 

He said he had also asked Governor D. Y. Patil to convene a special session of the Bihar assembly so that he could prove his majority and put an end to the uncertainties. The Raj Bhavan later accepted his recommendations. Earlier, JD-U national president Sharad Yadav said the party had decided to part ways with the BJP in view of the developments in the BJP in the past six- seven months. Announcing that he was resigning as the convenor of the NDA, Yadav said that the JD- U had adopted a political resolution on its alliance with the BJP.

BJP- JD(U) POLL RIDE

  • 1996: Samata Party (SP), under George Fernandes and Nitish Kumar, joins hands with the BJP
  • 1998: NDA is established with 13 constituent parties. SP chief Fernandes appointed convenor and A. B. Vajpayee chairman 
  • 1999: JD(U) joins NDA. In the elections held the same year, BJP and JD(U), contesting as NDA, win 23 and 18 seats, respectively, out of the 54 in the then united Bihar
  • 2000: Nitish appointed CM on March 3; resigns a week later on account of a fractured mandate 
  • 2001: Nitish becomes railway minister in Vajpayee’s Cabinet
  • 2004: JD(U) and BJP routed in Lok Sabha elections, winning only 6and 5 seats, respectively, out of Bihar’s 40 
  • 2005: Assembly polls throw up a fractured mandate — JD(U) gets 55and BJP 37 seats in Bihar’s 243- member assembly. President’s rule imposed and polls announced again. In the election, NDA wins a clear majority with JD(U) getting 88 seats and BJP 55. Nitish becomes CM with Vajpayee and Advani's blessings
  • 2009: JD(U) and BJP win 20 and 12 seats in Bihar in LS polls. Nitish prevents Modi from campaigning in Bihar 2010: NDA sweeps assembly polls, JD(U) wins 115 seats and BJP 91 seats.

Reproduced From Mail Today. Copyright 2013. MTNPL. All rights reserved.

Matches

MORE TOP STORIES TODAY

Kallis, Narine star in Knight Riders’ crushing win

Kallis, Narine star in Knight Riders’ crushing win

An all-round display saw Knight Riders thump Mumbai Indians by 41 runs in the IPL-7 opener. More »

Pietersen to miss Delhi's first game

Pietersen to miss Delhi's first game

The former England batsman will have to lead the franchise as he is out of the match against Bangalore with a finger injury. More »

Srinivasan named in fixing report: SC

Srinivasan named in fixing report: SC

The court emphasised that the tainted administrator can no longer work for the BCCI. More »

'If you do the wrong thing it will be found out'

'If you do the wrong thing it will be found out'

'Everyone knows what is right and what is wrong and if you do the wrong thing it will be found out' More »

Why I'm not looking forward to the IPL

Why I'm not looking forward to the IPL

Welcome to another season of a league that many watch but few trust. More »

Mitchell Johnson may quit T20s for Test cricket

Mitchell Johnson may quit T20s for Test cricket

Australia's Mitchell Johnson may quit limited-overs cricket to prolong his test career with an eye on the 2015 Ashes series in England, the fast bowler… More »

There's a lot going on: Fleming

There's a lot going on: Fleming

He experienced anxious moments in the lead-up to the tournament as the courts decided on whether to suspend the franchise, he said, but stressed that the… More »

Latif couldn’t work with tainted players

Latif couldn’t work with tainted players

Former Pakistan cricket captain Rashid Latif said Tuesday he turned down the job of national chief selector because he could not work with ex-players tainted… More »

We are not over-confident: Bailey

We are not over-confident: Bailey

Indian Premier League — George Bailey-led Kings XI Punjab will face Chennai Super Kings on Friday. More »

Taxing issue — BCCI hits roadblock

Taxing issue — BCCI hits roadblock

MoU between BCCI & its units to avoid double taxation delayed after a few decline to share details. More »

Big runs expected, with bat and ball

Big runs expected, with bat and ball

Royal Challengers Bangalore: Their main concern, once again, is the fast bowling More »

Black Caps pick rookie duo for West Indies

Black Caps pick rookie duo for West Indies

New Zealand selectors included two new caps in a 15-man Test squad named Tuesday to tour the West Indies, with injury-hit spinner Dan Vettori's future… More »

The stage is set for IPL-7 to start

The stage is set for IPL-7 to start

The Preview — Defending champions Mumbai Indians take on Kolkata Knight Riders More »

Srinivasan appeals to court to allow BCCI comeback

Srinivasan appeals to court to allow BCCI comeback

He was aggrieved by the allegations against him during the hearing. More »

Klinger on his exit from South Australia

Klinger on his exit from South Australia

Michael Klinger has revealed he felt compelled to leave South Australia after being told he would be only a fringe part of the Redbacks' plans for next season, and disputed the suggestion that he left… More »

India: cricket's Brazil

India: cricket's Brazil

They are tough to beat with a big talent base exposed to good facilities. (CYCSPL) More »

Delhi Daredevils say no to gifts

Delhi Daredevils say no to gifts

Franchises are doing their bit to refurbish the image of the tainted league. More »

India-Pakistan Test series likely in 2015

India-Pakistan Test series likely in 2015

The revival of Indo-Pak Test ties could take place in UAE. More »

Kohli hopes to end RCB trophy drought

Kohli hopes to end RCB trophy drought

'This time around we will hope to go few more steps ahead and actually get that trophy' More »

Gavaskar can help IPL regain glory

Gavaskar can help IPL regain glory

Apart from the foreign players a lot of behind-the-scene activity has taken place in selecting the Indian domestic players. More »

Tendulkar, Ganguly to promote soccer

Tendulkar, Ganguly to promote soccer

Leading Spanish club Atletico Madrid and former cricketers Sachin Tendulkar and Sourav Ganguly are among the owners of eight franchises of a new Indian… More »

This isn’t my first trip to India: Neesham

This isn’t my first trip to India: Neesham

Kiwi all-rounder wants to utilise the India leg to explore the country’s tourist attractions. More »

Ishant wanted to quit ODIs

Ishant wanted to quit ODIs

Says his mother made him change his mind. More »