Mamata, Kejriwal come out in support for Nitish Kumar in Bihar polls

  • Ravik Bhattacharya, Hindustan Times, Kolkata
  • Updated: Oct 27, 2015 18:52 IST
West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee expressed her support for Nitish Kumar on Twitter. (PTI Photo)

Both West Bengal and Delhi’s Chief ministers Mamata Banerjee and Arvind Kejriwal have tweeted in support of Bihar CM Nitish Kumar, urging people to vote for him in the ongoing Bihar elections.

Kejriwal on Tuesday tweeted “I appeal to the brothers n sisters of Bihar to vote to make Nitish ji the CM of Bihar.”

Banerjee’s tweet has arguably launched the poll season in Bengal in a low-key fashion. As opposition targeted her over the move, political analysts interpreted it as a move to open doors once again for an anti-BJP platform as she is apprehending that after the Bihar polls BJP will start ‘carpet bombing’ in Bengal, especially of the party does well in these polls.

With three rounds remaining of the five-phase Bihar polls, Mamata wrote on Twitter on Sunday, “Request you all in #Bihar to please vote to re-elect @NitishKumar-ji as CM for greater need of our country & development in state.”

The third phase of polling in Bihar is scheduled for Wednesday. The last two phases are on November 1st and 5th respectively.

The Opposition in Bengal pointed out that the message was triggered by three factors playing in her mind – CBI stepping up the tepid Saradha probe, former Trinamool number two Mukul Roy launching his party and extensive deployment of central forces in the assembly polls.

“With her tweet the Bengal poll season has started rolling. She is aware that BJP will start carpet bombing in Bengal, if it tastes success in Bihar. Even if it does not, it will throw its weight in Bengal for sure,” said Shibaji Pratim Bose, political analyst.

“Success in Bihar will also reduce Modi’s dependence on Mamata. So she sent a clear message that from now on her anti-BJP stand which will get louder and that is trying to reach out to anti-BJP groups at the national level,” added Bose.

Analysts believe that from November political turmoil will begin in Bengal and the Trinamool Congress chief is fully aware of it.

Another development looming large is Trinamool Rajya Sabha MP and former number two, Mukul Roy’s plans to launch a political party. His aim will obviously be to engineer a breach in the ranks and files of the party.

The leaders of Bengal’s ruling party are also aware that unlike the previous polls that were marked by violence and use of muscle power, central forces may be extensively deployed in the 2016 assembly polls.

“Mamata appealed to Biharis to vote for Nitish when her own voters don’t believe her. Desperate measure indeed,” said Sidharth Nath Singh, BJP national secretary.

“She did not support the anti-BJP alliance in Bihar because she did not wish to antagonise Modi. Now when it is getting clear that Modi may not be successful in Bihar, she is showing support for Nitish,” said Pradip Bhattacharya, Congress Rajya Sabha MP.

CPI(M), however, believes that Mamata-Modi bonhomie is still intact and it is a mock fight before the Bengal Assembly polls.

“It is a mock fight that has started before the Assembly polls in Bengal. Mamata Banerjee believes in the politics of bargain and had been doing that with Modi. Thorugh this move she is once again trying to gain national limelight,” said Mohammed Salim, CPI(M) Lok Sabha MP and politburo member.

Trinamool Congress has about 187 MLAs in a 294-seat Bengal assembly.

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