On Wednesday, Bihar faced a political earthquake. This earthquake was expected by all political pundits and enthusiast. On Wednesday evening, When Nitish Kumar came out from the Raj Bhavan, he announced his resignation from the Bihar Chief Minister post. He cited irreconcilable differences with his ally, the RJD, on the issue of corruption which made it difficult for him to run the government. “In the circumstances that prevail in Bihar, it became difficult to run the grand alliance government,” Nitish Kumar told reporters after submitting his resignation to Governor Keshri Nath Tripathi. The most shocking and surprising thing was the pace at which he joined the hand with his ex-alliance BJP. It is the same BJP with whom he had broken his alliance in 2013. At that time, he had ridiculed the party saying: ” Mitti mein mil jaonga, par doobara BJP se hath nhi milaonga.( I prefer being reduced to ashes rather than joining hands with the BJP again.)”
The proximity between Nitish and BJP began after Nitish praised the surgical strikes in Pakistan last year. This was the first compliment given by Nitish Kumar after leaving the alliance. Then Nitish went on to applaud the demonetisation move of the NDA government and also advised the government to make stringent laws on Benami property. Political experts have seen Nitish’s advice as an indirect attack on Lalu Prasad Yadav and his family. After that, consistent meetings between Nitish and Modi indicated that Nitish stance towards Modi has softened.
The first image of renewing alliance of BJP and JDU was seen at 350th birth anniversary celebrations of Shri Guru Gobind Singh in Patna, but the image was still blurry. But by supporting NDA’s presidential candidate Ram Nath Kovind, Nitish brought more clarity to the matter. This support came against the decision of 16 opposition parties.
Now, this cinematic political drama in Bihar has come to a conclusion. But still, a big and significant question looms over Indian politics. How will this political shift help the NDA in 2019?
The first implication is the weakening of the grand alliance which is at its pre-birth age. For the grand alliance, Nitish Kumar was the only leader who enjoyed a Modi-like status. In 2015, Nitish was the first leader who stopped the Modi wave in Bihar elections. His secular, incorruptible image was a bonus point for the grand alliance. But, now after the return of Nitish to NDA, these positive points are in the NDA’s kitty.
Second, and the most important thing, is that it will help the NDA in gaining electoral trust in the Hindi-Belt regions like Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan, Delhi, and Haryana. These states have a good number of Lok Sabha seats which will increase the voter percentage of NDA in 2019 elections.
Third, this will help BJP in doing social engineering in 2019 LS elections and 2020 state elections. Non-Yadav OBC and Muslims voters were loyal to Nitish in the 2015 elections. Now, Nitish is in the arsenal of the BJP, so these voters will also add to the NDA voting percentage in 2019 parliamentary election.
Fourth, Nitish’s return to NDA will help to create a psychological climate in favour of the BJP, that it is coming back to power in 2019. This could make other parties like AIADMK consider joining NDA.
After Nitish’s return to the NDA, the future of the Grand Alliance looks uncertain. The upcoming politically rally against the BJP where Lalu Prasad Yadav will be joined by veteran opposition leaders will probably not have much impact in light of the current events. It will be interesting to see what the opposition will do in these coming two years.