Till 2005, Lalu Yadav was an invincible leader in Bihar. Nitish Kumar first became chief minister for 7 days in 2000, although his ‘Samata party’ got lesser number of seats than BJP. It’s Advani and Vajpayee’s confidence on him, which pushed him as Chief Ministerial candidate. However, NDA got majority in 2005 and Nitish Kumar became Chief Minister of Bihar. Soon he started performing excellently and people started comparing his developmental work along with Modi’s Gujarat model.
There I think the rivalry started. Many think that Nitish broke ties with BJP because of his Prime Ministerial ambition. But I think Nitish Kumar was well aware of the fact that representing Bihar on the shoulders of a regional party, he can’t be a Prime Minister.
It’s his fierce rivalry with Modi in fact, that made him very adamant and finally broke the tie sensing that Modi would be the Prime Ministerial candidate of BJP! Some even suspect that he severed the ties as per the suggestion from veteran BJP leaders, so as to obstruct Modi’s progression as Prime Ministerial candidate.
Whatever may be the reasons, JDU left NDA and Nitish hoped that he would get mandate of Bihar due to his developmental credentials. Unfortunately he was so busy in Modi bashing that he forgot the fact that from the day his divorce with BJP, there was virtually governance paralysis for an year till the election.
After the decimation of his party, Nitish Kumar knew that he has now enemies both outside and inside. Those who don’t know regarding JDU must visit the past history. JDU although appears to be one party, it’s in fact conglomeration of two dominant parties! In fact Janata Dal was divided in 1999 as JD(S) led by by Devegouda and JD (U) led by Sharad Yadav in 1999. The larger JDU bearing the electoral symbol ‘Arrow’ of JDU and’ flag’ of Samata Party was constituted as an anti -Lalu Yadav forum and allied with BJP.
Thus in JDU, although Nitish Kumar enjoys importance as Chief Minister, but doesn’t enjoy much loyalty from his party leaders as most are from original JDU and few are from old Samata party. Majority in JDU were against breaking of ties with BJP. But its Nitish’s insistence that the party had to agree that Nitish could do a miracle at least in Bihar! But election results made the party men looking for blood of Nitish Kumar.
Majority of the members loyal to Sharad Yadav had proposed three ways, first is to return to NDA, second is to throw away the old Samata party people and either support or merge in BJP, and third option was to take support of Lalu Yadav in the name of secular front to save some political ground.
Nitish was aware of such developments. That’s why he initially tried to snatch some RJD MLAs to prove that his group is equally stronger in JDU, but failed. Now the obvious was there, either the party breaks or Nitish goes away as CM. Nitish played safe and resigned. There was some drama in Patna with a very small crowd supporting Nitish, but there was no reaction anywhere else in Bihar. Nitish realized that his story ended here and had to handover the charge to Jitan Majhi.
Now the end game appears to be very interesting and may be Nitish Kumar’s story is over! First he can’t return to NDA. Second he may travel across Bihar to sale his development model but BJP is equally strong in development agenda and their logic that it was BJP ministers who in fact were doing development work is proved beyond doubt because since the break up, forget about development, no governance is visible since a year!
On the ground of secular credentials (rather say minority vote bank politics), he can’t beat Lalu Yadav. Jitan Majhi enjoys majority support. Lalu Yadav’s RJD has also extended an un-conditional support to his government, but definitely not without any reason!
Thus what would be the conclusion? While Nitish Kumar dug his own grave due to egoistic rivalry, Sharad Yadav and Lalu Yadav combined wrote the script of sending Nitish Kumar to oblivion! Although it’s always said that never write off any politician but the curious case of Nitish Kumar appears to heading to a point of no return!