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Viewpoint: Will Nitish Kumar survive beyond 2024?

The senior Akalis are experiencing the pain of being separated from the BJP. Similarly, tomorrow, Nitish's colleagues will do so too. By deciding to remain the chief minister, Nitish has crossed the door of goodwill and trust given to him. The future will tell how long the chief minister will be able to hold his position, writes Prem Shukla.

Viewpoint Will Nitish Kumar survive beyond 2024?
First Published Aug 26, 2022, 8:57 AM IST

Recently, there has been a change of power in Bihar. Nitish Kumar resigned from the post of the chief minister and handed over the letter of support of the MLAs of the new alliance to the Governor. Nitish Kumar, who had dumped the RJD and joined the NDA while calling the former an alliance of 'Jungle Raj', has again taken oath as the chief minister in alliance with Lalu Prasad Yadav's party along with Congress and the Leftists.

For the eighth time in the last two decades, he has assumed the position of the chief minister. The politics of Nitish Kumar stemmed from the movement of Jayaprakash Narayan. It bloomed and flourished in the movement of Vishwanath Pratap Singh. It was fruitful under the liberal spirit of Atal Bihari Vajpayee and reached its climax during the tenure of Narendra Modi. Overall, the progress of the last man in the nationalist confluence of the socialist movement, progress and the opposition to corruption have been at the base. 

Dr Ram Manohar Lohia, Acharya Kripalani, Jayaprakash Narayan, Karpoori Thakur, etc., had created a strong non-Congress chain against the Congress dynasty, capitalism and corruption. Immediately after independence, the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), the Bharatiya Jana Sangh and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) worked to provide strength and power to that movement.

The ideology of the Sangh has worked to irrigate the roots of the anti-Congress alliances in the politics of India. The Bharatiya Jana Sangh made the first anti-Congress coalition government a reality. The Jana Sangh was merged with the Janata Party to create a mandate against Indira Gandhi's Emergency. 

In the 1990s, Vishwanath Pratap Singh's government was given unconditional support. The non-Congress leadership that is standing in the country even today, at some point in its political life, must have received the support, support and guidance of the RSS or the BJP.

For the first time in 1977, the Jana Sangh had a major role in the Janata Party, which was headed by a non-Congress government. But when Indira Gandhi took control of Madhu Limaye's lobby, Morarji Desai's government was toppled by power-hungry socialists, terming the Sangh as untouchables. As a result, a new form of BJP was organised.

Even in 1987, if the BJP did not get the National Front formed by standing with the Janata Dal, then the anti-corruption movement under the leadership of Vishwanath Pratap Singh would not have gathered the power to bring about a change in power. However, these elite socialists gathered under the leadership of Congressman Vishwanath Pratap, and eventually, the government was sacrificed. Within two years, Congress was restored to power again. 

In the 1990s, the BJP came to the centre of non-Congress politics. Under the leadership of Atal Bihari Vajpayee, the BJP, for the first time, formed such a coalition. The non-Congress government successfully completed its term for the first time in the history of Indian democracy.

The Secular 'Jamaat' always tries to establish a hypothetical notion that the BJP, by using the influence of regional parties in its development, makes its dominance over time and eliminates the regional parties. This can be understood by looking at the current state of non-Congress parties and the BJP's relationship with them. 

Let's start from the south. In Tamil Nadu, there has been an alliance of the BJP with both DMK and AIADMK. The BJP has never tried taking AIADMK's vote bank in its favour, nor has it harmed DMK in any form. Both the parties are still in the mainstream of Tamil Nadu politics. The DMK and AIADMK parties successfully established their roots in Tamil Nadu on the anti-Congress ideology. The founders of the DMK and the AIADMK have had to face the horrors of the Congress rule. The leadership of both parties has been consistently supported by the BJP's national leadership in the 80s and 90s. 

Telangana Rashtra Samithi's K Chandrashekhar Rao may stoop as much as he may in Telangana today, but who can deny that his initial political ground was built with the support of the BJP? The BJP has also been instrumental in establishing Deve Gowda's party in Karnataka.

Even today in Maharashtra, the BJP has unbroken support in keeping the ideology of Shiv Sena chief Balasaheb Thackeray alive. Those who argue that BJP expanded in Maharashtra due to Shiv Sena are ignorant of the real history. When the Shiv Sena was not even established, the Bharatiya Jana Sangh had 18 MPs in the Lok Sabha, and the number of MLAs in Maharashtra was in double digits. In 1990, when the two parties fought together in the legislative elections, the strength of BJP MLAs was 14 compared to 2 of Shiv Sena. Shiv Sena became a party with 52 MLAs from 2 MLAs, while BJP went from 14 to 42 MLAs. Whenever Sharad Pawar -- who is called the stalwart leader of Maharashtra -- was forced to leave after being neglected and humiliated by the Congress, only the BJP sheltered him. In 1985, Sharad Pawar's Congress-S allied with the BJP. Then the Janata Party led by George Fernandes was also included in that alliance. This was the same George Fernandes, who a few years back was talking against the Jana Sangh on the issue of dual membership. 

In Odisha, the Biju Janata Dal had tasted power only with the support of the BJP. In 2009, the BJD broke the alliance with the BJP. No one can tell an incident in the last 13 years when the BJP has damaged Naveen Patnaik's politics in any way. 

The BJP's association with the Asom Gana Parishad in Assam goes back decades. In West Bengal today, Mamata Banerjee raises her voice against the BJP. When the Communists used to attack Mamata 'didi' with life-threatening injuries, then the leadership of the BJP at the Centre would become a shield to protect her. Be it Devi Lal in Haryana or Bansilal, their anti-Congress campaigns have been supported by the BJP and today, the way Bhajan Lal's family trusts the BJP is living proof of the BJP's sense of responsibility toward coalition morality.

The BJP lacked nothing short in giving respect to the Shiromani Akali Dal in Punjab. Top Shiromani Akali Dal leader Parkash Singh Badal was given the same respect by the BJP leadership as they have been giving to the leadership of their own party. Has the BJP launched any campaign against the Badal family till today?

In Uttar Pradesh, (BSP supremo) Mayawati's life was saved by the BJP leadership. Otherwise, the goons of the Samajwadi Party would have definitely killed her in the guest house incident in Lucknow. For the first time, a Dalit woman reached the post of chief minister of Uttar Pradesh; it was the result of the vision of Atal Bihari Vajpayee. However, Mayawati and her party caused all possible damage to the BJP. 

Now let's talk about Nitish Kumar. Lalu Prasad Yadav had thrown him out of his team like a fly in the milk. What was the status of Nitish when Samta Party was formed? Even then, the BJP had its own supporter base in Bihar. By keeping its leaders behind, the BJP gave Nitish the good fortune of becoming the chief minister. But whenever he got the opportunity, Nitish stung like a scorpion; BJP always forgave the behaviour of this scorpion. 

Nitish emerged from the quagmire of corruption in Bihar, and today, once again, he finds himself blessed by jumping into the same quagmire. The BJP carried forward its people-oriented plans and campaigns, protecting their existence and honour by putting a lot of faith in their allies. The BJP assimilated itself with their goals and interests and always believed that our friendship with that party would be long-term for the upliftment of lower sections of the society. The BJP always made its colleague the leader in that particular province. History has it that the BJP has embraced its allies with open arms. 

The senior Akalis are experiencing the pain of being separated from the BJP. Similarly, tomorrow, Nitish's colleagues will do so too. By deciding to remain the chief minister, Nitish has crossed the door of goodwill and trust given to him. The future will tell how long the chief minister will be able to hold his position with this decision of his.

It is certain that the BJP will move forward only on the basis of the globally popular leadership of Narendra Modi. But will Nitish survive beyond 2024? It was Nitish who had become the axis of opposition to Narendra Modi from 2010 to 2017, but when Lalu's 'goons' made his life miserable in the government, if there was anyone who supported his stride against corruption, it was Narendra Modi, who is above such political anger and malice. 

What all did Lalu and the company call Nitish in the 2020 elections? If Narendra Modi had not come out in support of Nitish, the latter would have been finished. But as soon as he got the opportunity, the desire to enter national politics has once again awakened in Nitish's mind. He could not digest the respect being given to him by the BJP and its leadership. It is certain that Nitish's suicidal decision after four days of moonlight will write his fate, and the BJP's solar system will expand under the leadership of Narendra Modi.

The author is the national spokesperson of the Bharatiya Janata Party. Views expressed are solely of the author.

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