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Saturday, Sep 21, 2019

Four things Nitish Kumar will lose for embracing Modi again

Nitish Kumar may have found the time ripe for his return to the NDA fold, but he will likely play the price for yet another political somersault.

india Updated: Jul 29, 2017 19:44 IST
Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar (left) with BJP leader Shushil Modi at the Raj Bhavan in Patna on Thursday.
Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar (left) with BJP leader Shushil Modi at the Raj Bhavan in Patna on Thursday.(HT Photo)

New Delhi Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar’s return to the NDA fold is not without a price. Once seen as a challenger to Prime Minister Narendra Modi in 2019, Kumar will have to climb down a few notches to embrace the BJP.

Here are four things that Nitish will have to forego in alliance with the BJP.

PM ambition: For several months preceding his reunion with the BJP, Kumar tried becoming the rallying point of non-BJP politics. He did not succeed. Kumar has submitted to the leadership of Narendra Modi, who remains BJP’s face for coming elections. Kumar’s prime ministerial ambitions are buried. He remains confined to Bihar.

Sangh-mukt Bharat: At the peak of his fight with the BJP, Kumar dreamt of a Sangh-mukt Bharat – or an India free of the RSS, the BJP’s ideological mentor. His slogan was in response to BJP’s idea of a Congress-mukt Bharat. With the Congress out of power in yet another state, Kumar will have to abandon his idea of freeing the country from the RSS. The BJP is strongly wedded to the ideology of the RSS and that leaves no scope for Nitish to pursue an agenda he once strongly backed.

Credibility: The reunion of the JD(U) and the BJP has left a sour taste in the mouth of the secular brigade. He broke ranks with the BJP in 2013 on the ground of “no compromise on principles”. He dumped the RJD and Congress, saying there can be no compromise on his fight against corruption. He swung from one side of the political spectrum to another without much effort. Kumar’s flip-flop politics may dent his reputation as a dependable political ally for any formulation.

Big brother status: Kumar had the big brother status in the NDA when he was in alliance with the BJP. In 2010, the JD(U) got 141 seats out of total 243, leaving 102 for the BJP. They fought separately in 2015, and the BJP fielded candidates in 157 and Nitish on 101 seats. The BJP left 25 out of 40 Lok Sabha seats of Bihar for Nitish in 2009. It will not be business as usual in the coming elections. The BJP may have accepted Kumar as its leader in Bihar, but leaves little scope for negotiation for him in the 2019 Lok Sabha election. The NDA has 31 MPs from Bihar – BJP 22 and its allies 9.

First Published: Jul 28, 2017 12:25 IST