Nitish Kumar’s move to dump the BJP was a “betrayal” and he has “lost credibility” by switching sides so frequently, sources in the BJP have told NDTV. The sources also maintained that contrary to reports, top BJP leaders did not contact Mr Kumar. Despite knowing the trajectory of events, there was no effort to convince him to stay.
This, sources said, was because the BJP is sure that Nitish Kumar has national ambitions and sees leading the opposition in the 2024 general elections as a better option.
Top leaders of the BJP have been maintaining radio silence regarding the events since yesterday. There were reports that the party’s Union minister Amit Shah had dialled Nitish Kumar and key state leaders had met him at his home no Monday, but failed to change his mind.
Earlier today, in an interview with NDTV, Union minister Giriraj Singh insisted that the BJP has been maintaining coalition dharma. It was Nitish Kumar who “went shopping,” he declared, even when he was made the Chief Minister despite having 36 seats when the BJP had 63.
It was the BJP’s stance as the big brother in the state that had constantly riled Nitish Kumar since the state elections. What apparently pushed him over the edge was his conviction that the BJP was about to a do a Maharashtra in Bihar, sources said.
There was concern that the BJP would split his Janata Dal United and install a Chief Minister they can control, the way they dismantled the Uddhav Thackeray government in Maharashtra, sources had said.
That man, Mr Kumar had suspected was RCP Singh, who claimed to be the chosen one of the BJP for the lone cabinet seat it allotted the JD(U) at the Centre.
RCP Singh was not offered another term at the Rajya Sabha, forcing him to step down from the Union cabinet. Over the weekend, Mr Singh quit the JD(U) after the party accused him of corruption.
Now with Mr Kumar teaming up with Lalu Yadav’s Rashtriya Janata Dal – currently the largest party in the Bihar assembly – and nine other parties, the BJP sources said the party will focus on all 243 constituencies of the state.
For the 2024 elections, they will contest with the united Lok Janshakti Party and other smaller caste-based parties.
Sources said the takeaway from the 2015 elections was that among the three major political parties of the state – RJD, JD(U) and BJP – any two parties together make for a winning combination. But with the diminishing power of Nitish Kumar, the state politics can become bipolar in the coming years, sources said.