Of kings, king­mak­ers and pawns

Ni­tish’s open­ing gam­bit in Bi­har

Gfiles - - BRIC-A-BRAC -

SUSHASHAN Babu, Ni­tish Ku­mar, is the most un­pre­dictable species in Bi­har pol­i­tics. BJP’s Bi­har unit has tried to rein him, but the dis­ci­ple of Kar­poori Thakur changes his track – and tack – each time. Now, Ni­tish Babu has re­port­edly told the BJP’s state lead­er­ship that the 2019 na­tional elec­tion in Bi­har will be fought in his name, and not Naren­dra Modi’s. The de­mand has baf­fled the BJP. For­mer Chief Min­is­ter, Ji­tan Ram Man­jhi, tested the po­lit­i­cal wa­ters with BJP, but re­turned back to the Ras­triya Janta Dal (Lalu ) and Congress front. An­other wicket may fall— Upen­dra Kush­waha, Min­is­ter of State in HRD min­istry. At present, he is weigh­ing the pros and cons. His party only won two out of the 23 assem­bly seats al­lo­cated by BJP in the last assem­bly elec­tions, but won three par­lia­ment seats in the 2014 elec­tions. Kush­waha met Lalu Prasad Ya­dav at AIIMS re­cently, and re­ceived an open in­vi­ta­tion to join the RJD. An­other tricky is­sue is the dis­tri­bu­tion of the Par­lia­men­tary seats in Bi­har in 2019. JD (U) has de­manded the im­ple­men­ta­tion of the old for­mula, un­der which it will get 25 seats, even as the BJP will fight on 15. How­ever, the fam­ily-run party of Ram Vi­las Paswan’s brother has de­manded seven par­lia­men­tary seats. Kush­waha is not ready to give up his three par­lia­men­tary seats. If ev­ery­one sticks to their stances, the BJP may be able to fight on five seats. The cur­rent coali­tion, led by Ni­tish, hosted a din­ner, which BJP Pres­i­dent Amit Shah and Kush­waha did not at­tend. It is re­ported that a new for­mula of 15-15-7-3 is be­ing dis­cussed: JD (U) and BJP will fight on 15 seats each, Paswan fam­ily will get seven and three will go to Kush­waha. BJP wants to keep the al­leged mafia don, Pappu Ya­dav, in the coali­tion. There is chaos and con­fu­sion. BJP and Amit Shah are un­able to guess which party will sup­port which one in 2019. Fi­nally, the chess board will be drawn by Ni­tish Babu and not by Sa­heb or Amit bhai.

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