BJP-JD(U) alliance in Bihar: Will Nitish walk out on Modi once again?

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Published: September 23, 2019 3:53:21 PM

The thumping mandate in favour of the BJP in the Lok Sabha polls seems to have changed the equations between the two alliance partners. There are indications that the BJP may not be willing to cede the space it did to the JD(U) in past elections.

Nitish KumarBihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar. (File Photo. PTI)

As the assembly elections in Bihar draw closer, fissures have started appearing in the Bharatiya Janata Party-Janata Dal (United) alliance. While the top leadership of both the parties are silent on the future of the partnership, several influencial leaders have started airing their views publicly about the possibility of a break-up. JD(U) general secretary Pawan Varma has accused the Narendra Modi-led BJP government at the Centre of not giving enough breathing space to NDA allies. He puts the onus of continuing with the alliance on the BJP.

“If a situation is forced on us, we have the wherewithal to go alone, and we will,” he said in an exclusive interview to Swaraj Express News Channel.

Nitish has an unblemished image as an able administrator and that his popularity among women will help him come back to power in the state, Varma said. He said if Ntish gets a chance to become the prime minister, he will prove no less than Modi. “There is no comparison between Modi and Kumar… Nitish has all the qualities to become a prime minister,” he said.

Chief minister Nitish Kumar is not a stranger to breaking alliances. He had parted ways with allies Rashtriya Janata Dal and the Congress to join hands with Prime Minister Narendra Modi ahead of the Lok Sabha elections in 2019. Kumar had broken away from the National Democratic Alliance in 2013 after a 17 year-long association to form the Mahagathbandhan with Lalu Yadav and the Congress. With more than a year to go to the assembly polls, the signals emanating from both the sides reveal that all is not well with the BJP-JD(U) alliance.

When the BJP and the Janata Dal (U) fought Assembly polls together in 2010, the JD(U) contested in 142 seats and the BJP in 102. The party contested 101 seats in 2015, leaving 101 to RJD and 40 to Congress. When the party contested the 2019 Lok Sabha elections as part of NDA, it got 17 seats, the same number as the BJP. But, the thumping mandate in the polls, which gave the BJP a majority in the Lok Sabha on its own, seems to have changed the equations. Several newspaper reports have quoted state BJP leaders as saying that the party will no longer accept the 2010 formula that gave JD(U) a majority of seats. To make matters worse, the BJP and the JD(U) were in opposing camps in Parliament on several key legislations such as the Triple Talaq Bill, the Citizenship Amendment Bill, the National Register of Citizens and the RTI Act.

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