The resignation of Bihar’s Social Welfare Minister Manju Verma has led to a whole new controversy as it suggests that Nitish Kumar cannot hide behind “Mr. Clean” image anymore. It is clear that Kumar may have made certain compromises with his political ideology and his image in order to save his chief ministerial post. This has led to an entirely new debate in Bihar’s politics. Undoubtedly, Kumar’s image as a trusted CM has diminished. For the last few months, ever since the wedding ceremony of RJD Supremo Lalu Prasad Yadav’s elder sonTej Pratap Yadav took place, the politics of Bihar has taken a new turn. The wedding witnessed a huge gathering of politicians including the Governor Satyapal Malik, CM Nitish Kumar, Union Minister Ram Vilas Paswan and other prominent politicians of Bihar.
It was reported and confirmed by a few loyal associates of CM Nitish Kumar that a meeting between a close aide of Nitish Kumar and Lalu Prasad Yadav took place in Mumbai last month. There are rumors in the political corridors of Bihar that the current NDA Government may split anytime soon and Nitish Kumar may get back to the Grand Alliance. It is alleged that the allies of Bhartiya Janata Party, namely – Janata Dal (United), Rashtriya Lok Samata Party and Lok Janshakti Party may leave NDA. on the issue of seat sharing in the upcoming General Elections. In July 2017, in a high voltage drama, Nitish Kumar broke off the pre-poll alliance with Rashtriya Janata Dal and joined hands with BJP to form a government in Bihar on the grounds of his “Antaratma ki awaj” (conscience). The issue led to a split in JD(U) and former Party President Sharad Yadav resigned and formed a new party after the alliance broke up. And now,nearly a year later, Nitish is trying his best to get back into the Grand Alliance.
While the Indian National Congress has left the decision of letting JD(U) join the Grand Alliance again to Tejashwi Yadav, somesources say that Lalu is already planning to take Nitish back in his team. However, Tejashwi has clearly spoken up several times in this regard saying that he is not willing to give his uncle Nitish another chance and senior leaders of the party have supported Tejashwi’s view. Since the Grand Alliance had split, RJD has emerged as an undisputed winner in all the by-elections held in Bihar in the last one year. These circumstances have led to a situation where there is an urgent need for mid-term polls in Bihar. If the mid-term polls are held, RJD being the single largest party has the highest chance of forming a government.
Amidst of all these political beacons ringing, Tejashwi has emerged as a youth icon and a game-changer in the politics of Bihar. A pre-poll survey that was just released by Spick Media Network predicts that the RJD-Congress alliance will win 29 of Bihar’s 40 seats in the upcoming Lok Sabha elections in 2019.
Tejashwi Yadav joined politics in 2014 when he officially campaigned for RJD in the last general elections. Later on, after the Grand Alliance government came to power in Bihar in 2016, he was sworn in as the Deputy CM of the state in Nitish Kumar’s cabinet. However, Tejashwi’s political capital can be largely credited to Nitish Kumar’s betrayal of the Grand Alliance. Interestingly, Nitish’s political capital is also a result of Lalu Yadav’s infamous image that had formed in the late 1990s.
Notably, Tejashwi’s role as a Deputy CM was not as effective as is his current role as the Leader of the Opposition. It cannot be denied that under the young and dynamic leadership of Tejashwi Yadav, RJD. has managed to win almost all the seats in the by-elections (whether it was a State Legislative Assembly or a Parliament seat). In last few months, Tejashwi has tried to build up his image as the heir scion of RJD at the national front as he has been involved in meetings with Rahul Gandhi, Akhilesh Yadav, and Hardik Patel. Very recently, he was seen sharing dais with BJP MP Shatrughan Sinha and former BJP member Yashwant Sinha. Also, on Saturday, August 4, 2018, Tejashwi successfully managed to call and unite all the opposition parties on to one stage in the candle march and protest against the Muzzafarpur shelter home rape case, that was held at Jantar Mantar in New Delhi.
Going by his efforts to compete with Nitish in the 2019 General Elections and the 2020Assembly Elections, Tejashwi may find himself as the officially authorized CM candidate of the Grand Alliance. If that does happen, it will not be an easy road to traverse for Tejashwi, as Nitish Kumar will leave no stone unturned to save his chair as he is famous (read infamous) for doing so. Even if BJP and JD(U) contest elections independently, there will be a clear-cut tussle between Tejashwi and Nitish as there hasn’t been a leader as popular as Tejashwi and Nitish in Bihar BJP. Moreover, a large share of votes in Bihar are from the Muslim-Yadav community who are considered the vote bank of Lalu Prasad Yadav’s RJD. Further, even the forward castes and the feudal communities are not happy with the NDA in Bihar, especially after the SC/ST Act controversy.