JD (U) Leaders Angry With Bihar CM Nitish Kumar For Ditching 'Mahagatbandhan' Unilaterally.
Anger brewing against Bihar CM Nitish Kumar in the JD (U) ranks. Party's state leaders want a national convention to discuss Nitish Kumar taking unilateral decisions.
There is discernible anger among various sections of the JD (U) against chief minister Nitish Kumar for unilaterally ditching the "mahagatbandhan" and deciding on a 'ghar wapsi' to the BJP. This is particularly so with no less than a dozen presidents of various state units of the JD (U) in the country asking party founder Sharad Yadav to convene a national convention for discussing how Nitish Kumar could have just upped and snapped ties with the 'mahagatbandhan'.
Sharad Yadav has been marginalised by Nitish Kumar several years ago and has remained aloof and kept his counsel to himself. He was unhappy that the chief minister decided to abandon the 'mahagatbandhan' observing the decision to join hands with the saffron brigade once again as both"unfortunate and unpleasant".
Sharad Yadav has decided to tour the battle ground state of Bihar from tomorrow(Sunday, August 05) to hear first hand the views of party leaders before addressing a rally in the national capital on August 17. Leaders from like minded parties including the constituents of the 'mahagatbandhan' like the Congress and the RJD as well the Left parties, SP and the BSP will participate in the meeting.
The anti-Nitish faction in the JD (U) is keen to play its part in seeing the back of the Bihar chief minister. It is increasingly being felt that if Nitish Kumar did not want to continue with the RJD, he could have called for a snap poll in the state.
Even though Nitish Kumar had distanced himself from the 'mahagatbandhan' citing allegations of corruption by the deputy CM Tejaswi Prasad yadav, an election watchdog in Bihar claimed that 76 per cent of the ministers in the current ministry face criminal
At his first press conference after regaining regaining the chief ministership after a gap barely 24 hours, Nitish Kumar said he firmly believes there is no one who can challenge Prime Minister Narendra Modi in the 2019 general elections. He insists the opposition has no ideas and is only reactive. In the circumstances he has to set aside his ambition of making a bid for the Prime Minister's office though he has often claimed he is not in the race for that post.
What cannot be lost sight of is that the JD (U) has negligible presence outside Bihar. In the assembly elections in 2015, the saffron brigade lost to the 'mahagatbandhan' formed by the Congress, RJD and the JD (U).
The question is can the remaining 17-party opposition pose a challenge to Modi whose popularity rating is much higher than any other leader in the political firmament with less than two years remaining for the next general elections.
There is no doubt that Modi has his eyes set on a second successive term as the Head of Government especially when the people have kept the Congress in the saddle at the Centre for nearly six decades.
The BJP is talking in terms of crossing the 300 mark on its own in the Lok Sabha in the 2019 general elections. It won a majority of 282 seats for the first time in the House of the People in the last general elections in 2014 and along with its allies in the NDA crossed the rubicon of 300 finishing with a tally of 340 seats in the 543-member Lok Sabha.
The BJP-led NDA which is handicapped being in a minority in the Rajya Sabha will swell its numbers with nine JD (U) members in the House of Elders having a strength of 245. Securing a simple majority in the Upper House continues to elude the ruling dispensation at the Centre.
The Congress is in a such a bind that it seems to have reached the end of the road. Heir apparent Rahul Gandhi's leadership leaves much to be desired. The opposition needs to gear up its loins, throw up youthful and energetic leaders exuding confidence in catching the imagination of the people.
There is no doubt Modi is enjoying an extended honeymoon as the Prime Minister. What is worse farmers have been left high and dry. Caught in the vicious cycle of droughts and floods for the last three years, they are facing immense hardship coupled with unscrupulous money lenders pushing them to the edge of committing suicide for the third consecutive year.
The focus on the farmers remains paramount and cannot be ignored. They are up in arms in several states like Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu and Gujarat. Every politician wants to taste power. This is because of the traditional source of power -- the Congress -- being in doldrums and BJP being the only alternative in the circumstances.
What is a matter of concern is that the ruling party and its leaders are seeking to build a new Hindu India of their dreams. After the fifth of August, the BJP will create history by holding the three senior most positions in the country -- the President, Vice-President and the Prime Minister -- to frame and influence policy.
( T R Ramachandran is senior journalist and commentator. The views are personal.)