On Saturday, the Rashtriya Janata Dal suggested the possibility of a fresh alliance in Bihar if Chief Minister Nitish Kumar decided to snap ties with the BJP following the Arunachal Pradesh “humiliation”
However, RJD national vice-president Shivanand Tiwary made it clear that the ball lies in the court of the boss of the JD(U) who needed to know that the development was aimed at “settling old scores” in the north-eastern province, where his party MLAs defected en masse to the BJP.
Tiwary remembered the event about a decade ago when Kumar canceled a dinner arranged to meet the leaders of the BJP who were in Patna to participate in the national executive of the party.
“Nitish Kumar had then made it amply clear that while he was okay with the BJP, he was very much averse to Narendra Modi, his then Gujarat counterpart. Now, Modi is not a man who is going to forgive and forget the slight” Tiwary said.
The veteran RJD chief, who for some time has also been with the JD(U), insisted that the development in Arunachal Pradesh was “part of the chain of events that began with Chirag Paswan’s rebellion”
Ahead of the Bihar assembly polls, Paswan, the LJP chief, had pulled out of the NDA, vowing to dislodge Kumar from power. While it succeeded in cutting into JD(U) votes, with BJP rebels battling on their tickets in several seats, the LJP came a cropper in the elections.
“The BJP’s strategy was, firstly, to cut Nitish Kumar to a size which it did successfully in the assembly polls. Now it has begun to humiliate him. What else could explain poaching of six JD(U) MLAs in Arunachal Pradesh where the BJP was already enjoying a very comfortable majority” Tiwary asked.
Tiwary, who had tried to welcome every bold move by Kumar on the previous day, said when asked to elaborate, “if he leaves the NDA, it cannot be that we will join hands with the BJP to run Nitish Kumar down. We have been consistent in opposing the BJP and he joined us for some time but switched sides because of reasons best known to him”
Before the 2015 assembly polls, Kumar had joined hands with his arch-rival Lalu Prasad, the RJD supremo. The Grand Alliance, which came into being with the two parties, and the Congress, coming together, beautifully won the elections and Kumar returned with Tejashwi Yadav as his deputy as chief minister. Tiwary also suggested, however, that this time, power equations might undergo a transition, with the RJD still going strong but the JD(U) a pale shadow of its past self.
“Nitish has to take a tough decision as to what matters more to him his own dignity or the trappings of power”Nitish must make a tough decision as to what matters more to him than his own dignity or the trappings of power.
Bhai Virendra, the RJD MLA and chief state spokesman, a loyalist of Tejashwi Yadav, was even blunter.
To Nitish Kumar, we have a standing offer – give up your chair and assist Tejashwi Yadav in forming a new state government. That would help him maintain a bit of respectability. Bhai Virendra said, “We have a standing offer to Nitish Kumar – give up your chair and help Tejashwi Yadav in forming a new government in the state. That would help him retain a bit of respectability. Else, his party would suffer the same fate here as it has in Arunachal Pradesh,”