PATNA: The party to watch in Bihar in coming times is not JDU, the senior ally of ruling NDA coalition, rather its junior partner Bhartiya Janata Party whose spectacular performance brought it close to majority in state Assembly. Its subsequent role as a mindless Nitishophant threatens to make the party depend on its ally’s popularity to score well in the coming 2014 general elections; a prospect that pleases Nitish no end.
The BJP, in the 243 member Assembly contested only 102 seats and won 91 seats grabbing of 16. 46 percent of the popular votes. But increase in the strength after a complete wipe out of the Congress party in last couple of elections created more internal problems in the only visible national party in the state.
Not everything is cooking well in the party as many senior leaders like former president Gopal Narayan Singh and supporters of outgoing Chairman of State Legislative Council, Tarakant Jha, an octogenarian former party president, have almost openly revolted against the party leadership.
“The crisis of the party in the state is the failure to take any independent stand on the issues concerning the state. Here NDA means JDU and we are only pichhlaggu” (follower). The party was the main opposition party when the Samta Party, which later became JDU had the strength of only seven MLAs in the Assembly. Our current leadership failed to bargain and strengthen the party in the given situation,” said a senior BJP leader.
The party is fully divided into two major factions, one led by Sushil Kumar Modi and the other which includes senior leaders like party president in the state Dr C P Thakur, Tarakant Jha, Gopal Narain Singh, ex party president and senior ministers like Ashwini Kumar Chaubey and Chandra Mohan Rai.
Political observers feel that shrewd politician like Nitish Kumar knows it very well that Modi would never dare to challenge him. Kumar has an excellent personal rapport with some in the senior BJP leadership through which he virtually controls state unit and Modi is his trusted pointman in the state.