Advantage BJP: Why the Patna play sets stage for the grand game of 2019

Nitish Kumar's resignation is more than just another case of political realignment confined to a state. It’s been said that in politics, Bihar shows the way. Tonight’s drama in Patna may presage the grand 2019 theatre of Lok Sabha elections.

Written by Ravish Tiwari | New Delhi | Updated: July 27, 2017 10:07 am
nitish kumar, nitish kumar resigns, nitish kumar resignation, bjp, bihar politics, 2019 loksabha polls,narendra modi amit shah, opposition Prime Minister Narendra Modi and BJP chief Amit Shah (Source: Vishal Srivastav/file)

The powershift in Patna will set off ripples far beyond the political boundaries of Bihar that will touch the 2019 Lok Sabha elections.

For the BJP which was trounced in Bihar barely 20 months ago despite being resurgent across the country, joining the government there with JD(U)’s Nitish Kumar is a massive psychological and sociological gain.  In stark contrast, it re-affirms the disarray in the Opposition ranks which is struggling to work out a coherent pitch against Narendra Modi at the national level.

Until a few weeks ago, Nitish was considered the tallest potential challenger of Modi — one who is untainted with charges of political corruption or nepotism. That he has junked his ally, the RJD — an ally which got more seats than his party — is a boost to the BJP. His popular appeal among non-Yadav OBCs and poor sections in the Hindi heartland will only add to Modi’s aggressive pitch among these sections. His switch, therefore, buttresses Modi’s political decision to choose a Dalit from the Hindi heartland to the position of the President of India to consolidate the party’s appeal among the poor and backward sections of the society. Click here for Nitish Kumar swearing-in LIVE updates

Within Bihar, specifically, the BJP-Nitish alliance is a return of the formidable social alliance of upper castes and non-Yadav OBCs that had relegated Lalu Prasad’s Muslim-Yadav combination to a meagre 22 Assembly seats in the 243-member Bihar House in the elections of 2010. For the BJP, an alliance with the JD(U) almost secures a potential sweep of 2019 Lok Sabha elections after its humiliating defeat in 2015.

For the Opposition, the falling apart of the grand-alliance in Bihar will erode public trust and credibility towards any future attempt to cobble up a coalition of Opposition parties at the national level. It dashes Opposition hopes to ride the Lalu-Nitish-Congress grand alliance in Bihar to rein in BJP in Hindi heartland in 2019. Bihar sends 40 MPs to Lok Sabha. BJP had won 31 in 2014 Lok Sabha elections before it suffered a massive electoral setback at the hands of Lalu-Nitish alliance.

Not just Bihar, the breakup of the Patna alliance will also undermine attempts to cobble a grand-alliance of the SP-BSP-Congress in the politically crucial Uttar Pradesh. Modi, who began his overtures to Nitish when he attended the 350th centenary of Guru Gobind Singh in Patna Sahib in January 2017, seems to have started exploring attempts to avoid an SP-BSP alliance in UP.

On the day when Patna took the headlines, Modi took time out to attend a function to mark 25 years of the parliamentary career of SP leader Ram Gopal Yadav, who is considered close to SP chief Akhilesh Yadav. UP and Bihar, together, send 120 members to the Lok Sabha and the NDA had won 104 of these in 2014. These two Hindi heartland states hold the key to the 2019 political battle. The Nitish switch will go a long way to secure Bihar for the NDA. As for UP, the BJP already has a state government there and lot more ammunition at its disposal to fight its political opponents with almost two years to do its spadework.

So the resignation of Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar is more than just another case of political realignment confined to a state. It’s been said that in politics, Bihar shows the way. Tonight’s drama in Patna may presage the grand 2019 theatre of Lok Sabha elections.

While it appears a political win-win situation for BJP, the gains for Nitish Kumar are still a matter of conjecture as he will continue to be Bihar Chief Minister which he was anyway. Nitish’s alignment with Modi, in fact, may provide the ice-breaker to many fence-sitters among the regional parties to gravitate towards BJP ahead of 2019.

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  1. V
    V M
    Jul 27, 2017 at 11:26 pm
    It will also keep opportunists and RSS elements in BJP in check. It will make sure BJP does not go Jan-Sangh way and destroy itself. Modi Ji has a humongous task, way above what a normal person can handle. So far NaMo has proved worthy to challenge.
    Reply
    1. R
      Ravi
      Jul 27, 2017 at 3:47 pm
      Opportunism at its worst form. BJP and Nitish can stoop to any low to remain in power.
      Reply
      1. D
        Dhaval B.
        Jul 27, 2017 at 10:25 pm
        The BJP has only gotten better at this. This was the forte of the Congress and of late parties like AAP. Please put a mirror in front of your party and try and see the reality. If the BJP had done something like this, there would have been no UPA rule in from 2004 to 2014. India went down an abyss during those 10 years of UPA rule with all the scams and lack of leadership. Once again, think before you write. And if you can't, it will best for you and your ilk to stfu.
        Reply
        1. R
          Ram
          Jul 28, 2017 at 4:51 am
          Nitesh was already in power with bigger majority. Only difference now is he no longer carry corruption/nepotism bag of RJD/congress. That is smart politics. If they go for re-election RJD won't even be able to get 22 MLA seats it had when it contested with corrupt congress. RJD/congress will be more scared of any mid-term elections in Bihar than JDU-BJP. Together they can better their previous tally of 228.
          Reply
          1. A
            Aravamudan varadharajan
            Jul 28, 2017 at 6:04 am
            wow what a wishful thinking on your part bhakthas of MODI, Corruption are you talking ? Then talk about how adoni got loans from SBI, What happened to Ahamedabad Housing scam. Why No CBI Raids, CBI a HOLY COW.
        2. S
          Sankaran Krishnan
          Jul 27, 2017 at 12:49 pm
          As far as this issue changing sides by NItish to BJP, it was forced upon by the Manabandhan alliance and let the Congress Party takes the responsibility and its total failure to take a lead and stop the breaking of alliance which was all started after CBI found fault with RJD Chief Son who had occupied the Dy.CM post. Instead of directing RJD Chief to adhere to the dharma and norms as laid down if one person resigned definitely Nitish might not changed sides and of course he was forced to act against the corrupt ones and on earlier occasions also he had acted and so far kept his image as an Clean Politician which the RJD Chief and Family can't claim. Also Nitish met Rahul on 22nd JUly but he failed to take the initiative and talk to Lallu and told him with firmness that he should resign but it is Rahul who is jittery and kept quiet and now paid the price for keeping quiet and proved his inefficiency once again and accepts the defeat that he is not fit to lead from the front !!!
          Reply
          1. V
            vatsal
            Jul 27, 2017 at 11:53 am
            Refer to Seshadri's comment that there are no permanent frends/foes in politics. This is true. but his other remarks "nobody is bothered about poor etc." are normal congress supporters statement who would like to paint the entire political class as non-serious. I would instead say (most of political class which try to evolve dynastic approach will sooner or later become facilitators of corruption - as an inherited business. They will stich "ghotalabandhan" call it "ghatbandan" (or Sickular alliance etc.). For the first time Narendra Modi has shown to people quite convincingly that political class can orient itself to "provide better governance" and without getting corrupt. This will be win-win for all. The anti-national/inherited corruption rights party will be an exception and be in opposition. Be it be. Narendra modi and Nitish will make "congress apologists" think before they paint-brush political class "in single colour".
            Reply
            1. S
              sanjay dhamdhere
              Jul 27, 2017 at 11:41 am
              Voters made fool.if nitish is really honest he should face people .Election must in bihar.this is insult of people's verdict
              Reply
              1. Y
                Yogita
                Jul 27, 2017 at 10:15 am
                Incompetent Congress in total meltdown - got nothing to offer to the masses
                Reply
                1. S
                  Swamy
                  Jul 27, 2017 at 11:51 am
                  What had BJP given to Indian's sin last three years of power.Even the promises in its Election manifesto are unkept.Udhavji had rightly said M00dyji had just presented all 30 schemes for poor with change of name and packaging, they just misuse religion, they misuse local allies later to discard them once strengthen, like Shiv sena.
                  Reply
                  1. A
                    Anil
                    Jul 27, 2017 at 1:04 pm
                    So what if the schemes have the same name? The important thing is that schemes should work relatively free of corruption and efficiently. They never did under UPA rule but are working relatively better now. That counts, not what any frustrated dynasty sycophant says. We are done with the corruption of the Congress forever. Both the RJD and Congress were only interested making up for the lost time in Bihar-- you know what that means. As for Udhav, don't remember one good thing the SS ever did for Mumbai, only made underhand lucrative deals for it's top leader. The BJP should dump him ASAP.
                2. T
                  TIHAEwale
                  Jul 27, 2017 at 10:00 am
                  Feku56-Tadipaar Amit even afterbeing deceived by Nitish has gone to prop up Nitish shows Feku56 has realised that his acchee dinn dreams to voters are like castles in air and only a divided and rudderless opposition will ensure reelection in 2019 but 21 months isa long time and voters will have time to see more of Feku56
                  Reply
                  1. Y
                    Yogita
                    Jul 27, 2017 at 10:13 am
                    Time to take some Burnol before you burn up inside
                    Reply
                    1. K
                      Kiran Prakash Gupta
                      Jul 27, 2017 at 10:55 am
                      Please get hospitalized
                      Reply
                      1. J
                        JD
                        Jul 27, 2017 at 11:06 am
                        I can understand your frustrations
                        Reply
                        1. J
                          JD
                          Jul 27, 2017 at 11:06 am
                          I can understand your frustrations
                          Reply
                          1. A
                            Anil
                            Jul 27, 2017 at 1:08 pm
                            And five years after that! Too bad you can't swallow that but the Indian people know much better. One can call Modi all kind of names, makes no difference any way. Dogs after all have a habit of barking at caravans, who pays attention?
                            Reply
                          2. R
                            Rakesh Katyal
                            Jul 27, 2017 at 9:59 am
                            What happens now to Shotgun? No statement from him. Khamosh is the policy.
                            Reply
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