Nitish comes close to RJD after 5 years, ignites speculation

Patna, April 22 (IANS) Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar, who on Friday walked over to the neighbouring bungalow of former Chief Minister Rabri Devi for her iftar party, came close to the RJD to an extent that has not been seen in the last 5 years. Now, the key questions that this has evoked is what exactly happened between him and the top leadership of ally BJP in the last few weeks.
The political pundits of Bihar believe that Nitish Kumar does not do anything without any motive. His move to come closer to Tejashwi Yadav and the RJD just before the visit of BJP’s number 2 leader and Union Home Minister Amit Shah has a big political message which he is trying to convey to the BJP leadership.
To understand the motive of Nitish Kumar in attending to the Iftar party at Rabri Devi residence, we have to understand his USP. His biggest motive is to create fear among the BJP’s top leadership that he may go again with the RJD to form the government in Bihar.
Amit Shah, who is coming to Bihar on April 23 for the celebration of the anniversary of 1857 freedom fighter Babu Veer Kunwar Singh in Jagdishpur in Bhojpur district, is coming to the state for the first time after the swearing-in ceremony of Nitish Kumar in 2020. However, as per his schedule, he will participate in the BJP programme but not meet Nitish Kumar. Political experts believe that Nitish Kumar considers himself as a leader in the rank of PM Narendra Modi and if Amit Shah is coming to Bihar but not meeting him, he will take that as a political insult to him.
However, BJP sources believe that the political status of Nitish Kumar has reduced after the 2020 Assembly election when his JD-U managed to win only 43 seats. Still, the BJP gave the post of Chief Minister to him as they feared his volatility, and he could approach the RJD camp any time.
BJP’s top leadership knew that Bihar is an important state in the context of 2024 Lok Sabha elections – with 40 seats, which may be vital then.
At present, the BJP is holding power in big states like Uttar Pradesh (80 Lok Sabha seats), Madhya Pradesh (29), Karnataka (28), Gujarat (26), while among the others, Assam has 14, Haryana 10, and Uttarakhand 5. Hence, the BJP cannot afford to lose a major state to fall in a tight situation where the magical figure of 272 in Lok Sabha becomes a distant dream for it in 2024. At current positions, the BJP would not reach even the 200 figure mark on the basis of states where it is in power.
Of the opposition-ruled states, West Bengal is having 42 Lok Sabha seats, Congress-ruled Rajasthan and Chhattisgarh have 25 and 11, respectively, Maharashtra 48, Jharkhand 14, Kerala 20, Telangana 17, Tamil Nadu 39, Punjab 13, and Andhra Pradesh 25. So the opposition parties rule bigger states where BJP leaders cannot influence the government machinery for the political benefits during Lok Sabha election 2024.
Then, political strategist Prashant Kishor seems to be associating with the Congress. On the other hand, he has good relations with Nitish Kumar as well as his West Bengal counterpart Mamata Banerjee, Telangana’s K. Chandrasekhar Rao, and others, and if he could bring these leaders on one platform, they could easily challenge the BJP in 2024.
Nitish Kumar, probably, knows that BJP is currently under huge pressure which may be an ideal time for him to open his cards. He is not pleased with the recent aggression against a particular community in BJP-ruled states and Delhi where the state police is in the control of the Union Home Minister.
Hence, he has organised an Iftar party at his residence and also visited the residence of Rabri Devi to give a clear message that he will stand with the minority community. He publicly said that he does not allow aggression against any community in Bihar.
With these developments, there is buzz of “Khela Hobe” by Nitish Kumar but will he go with the RJD is the million dollar question. Sources have said that a section of JD-U is in touch with Tejashwi Yadav. Even Nitish Kumar reportedly sent messages to Lalu Prasad and Tejashwi Yadav but the latter did not agree to his proposal. The RJD was wanting the CM post for Tejashwi Yadav while Nitish Kumar was wanting the support of the RJD but he wanted to retain the Chief Minister’s post for himself.

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