NEW DELHI: Back in June 2013, when Nitish Kumar was torn between his dependence on the NDA and his need to be free, he called a mid-term Assembly election. Would he do the same again? Sources in the BJP say it’s a possibility.
“Relations between Nitish Kumar and Lalu Prasad are too strained to be repaired. It’s not just about getting rid of Tejaswi Yadav. The Janata Dal (U)’s alliance with the RJD is hurting Nitish’s principal agenda of prohibition in Bihar,” said a senior BJP leader.
He says the Bihar chief minister is miffed that bootlegging of liquor has assumed monstrous proportions with RJD workers giving patronage to peddlers. “The CBI and ED cases are just the tipping points. Nitish Kumar’s obsession with prohibition wasn’t read rightly by the RJD leadership. Prohibition is at the core of his political mantra. Women voted for him overwhelmingly in previous elections,” the BJP leader added.
Within the JD (U), there is a sense that the time has come for Nitish Kumar to establish his credentials once more by winning the state on his own. “The Bihar BJP leadership is in disarray while the RJD’s first family is struggling in the net of the investigative agencies,” said a close aide of the chief minister.
Political leaders in both BJP and JD (U) argue that the chief minister could walk out of the Mahagathbandhan and lure away senior leaders from the RJD and Congress to send out a message that he can win the state on his own.
“The vote share of the BJP remained almost static at about 24.5 per cent in the 2014 Lok Sabha election and the 2015 Assembly poll though the two outcomes were strikingly different.
That Bihar is not UP is well-known to all, and this emboldens Kumar to attempt the gamble to soar his profile at the national level ahead of the 2019 Lok Sabha election,” said a senior BJP leader from Bihar, who had been a minister in the Nitish Kumar Cabinet during NDA reign.