NEW DELHI: With options exhausted, Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar is least likely to take a fresh political gamble in the run-up to the state Assembly elections.
In the face of an apparent resurgence of the famed “MY (Muslim-Yadav)” social engineering of the RJD, the JD(U) is likely to stick to the NDA alliance for the October-November polls.
Kumar, incidentally, has in the past taken a few political gambles to earn the reputation of an unpredictable politician.
“The JD (U) needs the BJP more than ever in the upcoming elections. Delhi has shown the writing on the wall of the revival of the tactical voting of the Muslims. This will be more strategic since the Muslim electorate is spread across the state, and the JD(U) may struggle to get support from the minority community,” said a senior BJP functionary.
With the “MY” social engineering, which was a potent RJD support base in the heydays of the Lalu Prasad rule in the state, showing signs of revival, the incumbent chief minister may not have an easy election to win in the state.
Coupled with the economic slowdown blunting the appeal of the BJP in the state elections, Kumar may have to face up with the sharp caste identity politics in Bihar.
“The RJD-Congress combine along with a few smaller parties will have a solid 30 per cent support base as a starter in the elections, and if they could build on the narrative in the state against the NDA then the chief minister will have to fall back on the BJP to polarize the upper castes more fiercely,” added the BJP functionary.
Kumar had left the NDA following the nomination of Narendra Modi as the Prime Ministerial candidate before the 2014 Lok Sabha elections.
He had later allied with the RJD and Congress for the Assembly polls in 2015.
The RJD had managed 80 seats in the polls.
“Unlike UP, where the BJP was able to make inroads in the Yadav and OBC vote space, the RJD continues to enjoy the support of the backward caste. With Bihar being the state of sharp caste identities the JD (U)-BJP combine will need to be extra careful in the elections to retain the state,” said another senior BJP functionary.