India Today



 The second edition of the Nitish-BJP partnershi­p has been fraught from the start, with the latter exhibiting a clear aggressive intent and making no bones about its ambition to eventually supplant Nitish and JD(U)

 Even during the elections, the JD(U) suspected the BJP of having strategica­lly fielded Chirag Paswan’s LJP as a votecutter in all seats JD(U) contested so as to trim its numbers

 Right after the NDA returned to power in November 2020, with BJP as the bigger partner this time, former deputy CM Sushil Modi—whom Nitish Kumar trusted well, and who formed a reliable and stable, albeit junior, element in the partnershi­p— was disallowed by the central command from joining the government

 Similarly, barring one, all BJP ministers in the previous government were replaced—most were seen to have a smooth relationsh­ip with Nitish and JD(U)

 In their place came more belligeren­t leaders like current state president Sanjay Jaiswal, who set up a constant line of attack on the government

 With Sushil Modi plucked out of Patna and brought into the Rajya Sabha in December 2020 itself, Nitish had nobody in the Bihar BJP to coordinate with and smoothen out the wrinkles between the NDA allies

 Conflict became common. A case in point: in July, land revenue minister Ram Surat Rai threatened to resign after the CM’s secretaria­t cancelled the transfer of over 150 officials for alleged irregulari­ties

 In 2022, the BJP deputed Union minister Dharmendra Pradhan as a peace broker, but his two visits to Patna over May-June failed to break the ice

 Things came to a head when JD(U) leader R.C.P. Singh was inducted into the Union Cabinet unilateral­ly by the BJP. In 2019, Nitish had decided not to join the new Modi government at the Centre after being offered only one portfolio

 The looming threat of RCP trying to ‘do an Eknath Shinde’ on Nitish with the help of the BJP proved to be the last straw. BJP president J.P. Nadda’s reported statement against regional parties only added to JD(U)’s displeasur­e

JD(U) and BJP have not been on the same page on a number of issues: Agniveer, NRC, Uniform Civil Code, population control, namaz at public places, the wearing of hijab at government educationa­l institutio­ns, loudspeake­rs at religious places, the Pegasus spyware scandal, caste census.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from India