Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar has reportedly decided to call it quits with his alliance partner BJP, two years after he was relegated to the junior position in the National Democratic Alliance following JDU’s subpar performance in the Bihar assembly elections. According to reports, Kumar will exit the National Democratic Alliance as he is expecting a letter of support from Lalu Prasad Yadav’s RJD. Lalu Yadav and Nitish Kumar, products of the iconic JP movement, had been in the alliance between 2015 and 2017, but they later pulled the plug on the JDU-RJD government due to the corruption allegations against the Yadav family. Meanwhile, Lalu Yadav’s daughter Rohini Acharya wrote a cryptic tweet indicating that RJD was keen to extend the hand of friendship to their erstwhile ally. “Be ready for the coronation, those who wield ‘laltain’ (RJD’s election symbol) are coming,” she tweeted in Hindi.
The first point of contention between the BJP and JDU was the latter’s demand for proportional representation in the Union Cabinet. Currently, both JDU and BJP have an equal number of Lok Sabha MPs from Bihar. Kumar wanted that both parties have an equal number of MPs from the Bihar quota. However, reportedly, only one seat was offered to Nitish Kumar’s party. Also, during the 2020 Bihar assembly election, Chirag Paswan fielded LJP candidates against Nitish Kumar’s candidates despite being an NDA ally. Paswan’s LJP couldn’t make its mark but it scraped off NDA votes, leading to a significant reduction in Kumar’s seat tally. JDU, which used to play big brother in Bihar, was reduced to a junior partner. Many political pundits opined it was the BJP’s masterstroke to prop up Paswan against Kumar.
Another reason for the split was the acrimonious relationship between Speaker Vijay Kumar Sinha and Nitish Kumar. Sinha was from the BJP’s quota. The two didn’t see eye to eye and had several run-ins with each other. The two leaders launched frontal attacks on each other this year on several occasions. In March 2022, Kumar accused the Speaker of breaking the assembly rules in order to corner the Bihar government.
That there was a wide rift between BJP and JDU can be gauged from the fact that BJP state chief Sanjay Jaisal had said during the Agnipath agitation that only the houses of BJP leaders were being attacked.
Also, the policies and politics of the BJP and JDU weren’t in consonance with each other. The two parties had divergent views on a host of issues. While BJP was in favour of simultaneous elections, JDU was against it. While the Union government opposed caste-based consensus in Bihar, Nitish Kumar was firmly in favour of it. They also differed on issues like the Agnipath scheme and common civil code.
Nitish Kumar had been skipping NDA’s meetings, indicating a rift with the BJP.
Kumar will meet the Bihar Governor today at 4 pm, where he is expected to resign.