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Nitish Kumar vs BJP reaches stage of clear and present danger: 10 facts

A prominent role in this crisis is that of RCP Singh, who quit Nitish Kumar’s party on Saturday night.

The conflict between Nitish Kumar and the BJP has reached an unprecedented scale. Shooting each other has been normal since they reunited in 2017. But for the first time, the alliance appears to be in real and present danger.

Here are the 10 latest developments on this great story:

  1. Nitish Kumar’s Janata Dal (United) party has accused the BJP of two major plots to weaken the chief minister’s grip on his party. The sentence was handed down less than 24 hours ago by Rajiv Ranjan Singh alias Lalan Singh who is the chairman of JDU.

  2. Lalan Singh says last year at the time of the general election, the BJP rolled out the ‘Chirag model’ to ensure Nitish Kumar’s votes were evenly matched, which led to his party winning just 43 out of 243 seats in the State Assembly.

  3. The remarks are so acrimonious that negotiators behind the scenes will find their workload quite heavy. In a bid for rapprochement, BJP representatives led by Tarkishore Prasad, the deputy chief minister, last night met with Vijay Kumar Choudhary, a senior minister and close associate of Nitish Kumar.

  4. Sources close to the chief minister say he is in no mood to be appeased; tomorrow, he will meet all his deputies or legislators to decide what to do next. An early read would have convinced him that MPs are unwilling to face a midterm election and would prefer a new alliance to that prospect.

  5. The combined strength of the Rashtriya Janata Dal or RJD, the Chief Minister’s JDU and the Congress is enough to form a government if Nitish Kumar breaks away from the BJP.

  6. His reasons, say sources close to him, are mainly based on what he sees as a concerted attempt by Union Minister Amit Shah to “control Bihar from afar”. To register his protest, Nitish Kumar skipped several key meetings called by Amit Shah and Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Yesterday was the most recent of these boycotts – he failed to attend the prime minister’s meeting with all chief ministers, claiming to be ill, but was present at two government functions in Patna.

  7. A prominent role in this crisis is that of RCP Singh, who quit Nitish Kumar’s party on Saturday night. He was a Rajya Sabha MP and labor minister, but Nitish Kumar came to see him as a proxy for Amit Shah, and last weekend RCP Singh was accused by his own party, the JDU, of rampant corruption. In previous months, he had been denied an extension to his seat in Rajya Sabha, which meant he had to resign as union minister.

  8. Nitish Kumar has these key demands for the BJP: more union ministries (his party had received one, which was awarded to RCP Singh) and that elections for Bihar be held alongside the next general elections in 2024 ( instead of a year later). In an attempt to make amends, Amit Shah on a recent trip to Patna said that Nitish Kumar would be the face of their alliance in the upcoming state elections; Pushing back against the move, yesterday JDU’s Lalan Singh said any plans for the next election remained undecided.

  9. The BJP and Nitish Kumar held a decades-long alliance until 2013, when the latter opted to team up with the Congress and the RJD (led then by Lalu Yadav and now by Lalu’s son, Tejashwi). However, a huge disconnect between Lalu’s sons, who were ministers, and Nitish Kumar caused him to end the alliance after the young leaders were accused of corruption. Nitish Kumar then reconnected his party with the BJP.

  10. At the time, Nitish Kumar also considered that running in Bihar general election against Prime Minister Modi would not work in his favour; a similar reckoning will now be a big part of his plans – if he can afford to fight for Bihar in a general election against the prime minister, whose approval ratings are extremely high.


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