A rally in Delhi’s historic Ramlila maidan on Sunday will be the occasion for Bihar chief minister and JD(U) strongman Nitish Kumar to explore options apart from current ally BJP, after the 2014 elections.
Nitish’s mobilisation is based on the demand for special status for Bihar and he has declared that he would support whichever formation is willing to concede this demand. “This position makes both the BJP and Congress equal in his scheme of things,” said a close aide.
Nitish, who will part ways with BJP as and when Gujarat chief minister Narendra Modi is projected as its prime ministerial candidate, is also looking to develop a politics around the Bihari identity.
In the 243-strong Bihar assembly, JD(U) has 119 seats, just four short of a simple majority. Nitish’s continuation as CM will not be at risk, even if he parts ways with the BJP before the 2014 elections.
Significantly, party general secretary Shivanand Tiwari said on Saturday that the JD(U) was prepared to fight the next Lok Sabha elections alone in the state, if the situation demands and its alliance with the BJP ceases to exist.
“The JD(U) wants the alliance to continue, but is prepared “to contest all the seats with all our strength”, Tiwari said, adding that: “Any party which says they are not ready to fight all the seats alone is a stupid party which is not confident of its electoral and organisational strength,” he said.
Incidentally, former BJP chief in Bihar, CP Thakur had recently said that his party was preparing to contest all the parliamentary seats in Bihar.
Kumar’s rally comes just about a month after Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi sought to make a national pitch by addressing students at the Sri Ram College of Commerce (SRCC).
While Modi’s address was more of a media event, Kumar’s “Adhikar rally” is undoubtedly expected to turn out as a massive show of strength.