The Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar’s head is uneasy these days not because he wears the crown. He is uneasy due to the machinations of his ally – the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) sending mixed signals. On the one hand, senior BJP leader Amit Shah reportedly told the Bihar unit BJP to patch up and strike a working relationship with Nitish Kumar, on the other hand, BJP President J P Nadda’s claim that the ‘regional parties will not survive’ has sent shivers down the spine of Nitish Kumar. The Maharashtra Operation Kamal is fresh in the minds of BJP’s allies and other political parties.
Nitish Kumar has called a meeting of his legislators. Do not be surprised if Nitish makes a dramatic announcement of parting ways with the BJP yet again. He may also ride the moral high horse and install the Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) leader Tejashwi Yadav as the new chief minister with the outside support of the Janata Dal (United). Nitish will try to persuade Tejashwi to allow him to continue as chief minister with the promise that he will make way for Tejashwi and explore his own chances to dethrone Narendra Modi in 2024. Nitish Kumar is a musical chair politician. His only concern will be to stay in power at any cost.
It may be recalled that Nitish Kumar attended the Iftar Party last Ramadan at the invitation of Tejashwi’s mother Rabri Devi, former chief minister of Bihar. The Iftar Party at Rabri’s residence in Patna had set tongues wagging about a possible patch-up and return to alliance. Lalu Prasad and Nitish Kumar have been long-time friends though at different ends of the political spectrum sometimes. Now, that Operation Kamal was successfully performed in Maharashtra, it is bound to be natural that Nitish Kumar is having nightmares these days about being thrown out in a humiliating manner like the Shiv Sena’s disgraced leader Uddhav Thackeray. It is not just the JD (U) that is vulnerable. The BJP will try to poach the RJD and Congress too. The BJP has already set the cat among the pigeons. Former Union minister RCP Singh who fell from Nitish’s grace and exit the party yesterday has been reportedly assigned the hitman job for Operation Kamal. Being a former Indian Administrative Service (IAS) officer and father of an Indian Police Service (IPS) officer daughter, RCP Singh knows the Bihar administration inside out. The Peeping Tom Himanta Biswa will be more than willing to assist in Operation Kamal despite the grim flood in Assam. Himanta will muddy the waters for Nitish and make the JD (U) slip this time. The BJP was only waiting for the President and Vice President polls to get over and did not want to annoy Nitish and get deprived of the JD (U)’s votes in the prestigious polls.
Will today’s meeting with JD (U)’s legislators change Nitish’s fortunes for the better or for the worse? The BJP or the JD (U), who will blink first is the question? If elected governments are changed at will, then surely the burden will be passed on to 5-year-old children whose pencils come with the Goods and Services Tax (GST) and the taste of curd turning sour for the housewives with GST on the curd.
Whether the curd is churning in the kitchen or not, there is a lot of political churning in Bihar!