Several opposition leaders on Tuesday lauded Nitish Kumar for snapping ties with the BJP in Bihar and embracing the RJD-led Mahagathbandhan (Grand Alliance) to continue in office. This is the second time in nine years that Nitish left ally BJP out in the cold.
While Samajwadi Party chief Akhilesh Yadav termed Nitish’s move as a “good start”, the Trinamool Congress (TMC) stated that no ally can safeguard its identity in the saffron camp.
“It’s a good start. On this day the slogan of ‘Angrezo Bharat Chhodo’ was given and today the slogan of ‘BJP Bhagao’ is coming from Bihar,” Akhilesh was quoted as saying by ANI. “I think soon political parties and people in different states will stand against the BJP.”
Welcoming Nitish’s move, TMC chief national spokesperson Sukhendu Sekhar Ray said: “No political party in NDA is safe with an alliance partner like the BJP. The BJP does not believe in smaller or regional parties’ existence. Its policy ensures the wiping out of regional parties even if they are their allies. Such a development was waiting to happen.”
“We don’t have any political or organisational presence in Bihar. But if BJP is defeated in Bihar then the people of West Bengal will indeed be very happy,” he added, asserting the TMC is keeping a close watch on the political situation in the neighbouring state.
Communist Party of India (CPI) MP Binoy Viswam said the events in Bihar indicate that a change is underway. “Bihar conveys the message of far reaching change in Indian politics. It’s final outcome depends up on the level of insight expected from the important players. The left will definitely play the responsible role in its consistant fight against RSS-BJP (sic),” he tweeted.
CPI general secretary D. Raja, meanwhile, said the developments in Bihar is a “strong indictment” of the BJP’s “politics of intimidation”.
The Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) said its president M K Stalin’s vision to fight the BJP at the national level has gained momentum with the JD(U) pulling out of the NDA in Bihar. DMK organisation secretary R S Bharathi said that Stalin, the Tamil Nadu Chief Minister, had batted for the opposition parties to join hands, well ahead of the Presidential election held last month to take on the ruling BJP.
Lok Janshakti Party (Ram Vilas) leader Chirag Paswan, however, demanded President’s rule in Bihar followed by fresh elections. Stating that fresh assembly elections should be held to allow people to give a fresh mandate, Paswan said “today, the credibility of Nitish Kumar is zero”.
“We want President’s rule to be imposed in Bihar and the state should go for a fresh election. Do you (Nitish Kumar) have any ideology or not? In the next polls, JD-U will get zero seats,” he added.
BJP leader and Union Minister Ashwini Choubey accused the outgoing chief minister of being “opportunistic” and said those “betraying” Bihar want to create obstacles in its development. “The BJP does not suppress anyone, does not betray anyone. Those people betraying Bihar want to create obstacles in its development. The development of Bihar has been a priority for us from Atal Bihari Vajpayee government to the Modi government,” Choubey told a TV channel, PTI reported.
“Despite having lesser seats, we made him (Kumar) chief minister. He has deceived the people twice. He is suffering from arrogance,” he added.
Commenting about Nitish’s imminent tie-up with the Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD), Choubey said, “Vinaash kaal vipreet buddhi” (when doom approaches, one loses wisdom).
“Where is the talk of zero tolerance on corruption? He is opportunistic, he keeps looking for opportunities. This is my personal opinion,” he added.
Earlier in the day, Nitish met Bihar Governor Phagu Chauhan and tendered his resignation as the chief minister to stake claim to form a new government after being unanimously declared the leader of the opposition grand alliance.
Dumping the BJP for the second time in nine years, Nitish is likely to form a new government with the support of RJD, Congress and Left Parties.