PATNA: JD-U leader Nitish Kumar may have managed to retain the post of chief minister of Bihar with support from the BJP after breaking alliance with the Grand Alliance but he has lost a major opportunity in the process—Now, there will no slogans like “Desh ka neta kaisa ho, Nitish Kumar jaisa ho…”
Since the time he broke the 17-year-old alliance with the BJP, the JD-U had been constantly projecting Nitish Kumar as the “future Prime Minister” of India, claiming only he can defeat Narendra Modi.
Such ambition was natural. After all, Nitish Kumar had broken the long-standing alliance with the BJP in June 2013 just after Modi was declared as the BJP’s campaign committee chief for 2014 general elections at the Goa conclave.
Both Modi and Kumar had the credit of becoming the chief minister twice and as such there was a virtual competition between the two to be named as the PM candidate when party patriarch LK Advani found himself pushed to the background after 2009 LS poll defeat but Modi ultimately emerged as the ‘winner’, observers say.
Even during the 2014 LS poll campaign, Kumar himself projected as the “PM candidate” asserting he had better credentials than other aspirants—BJP’s Narendra Modi and Congress’s Rahul Gandhi.
“What do I lack (to be PM)… I am qualified,” was how he told the media while kicking his election campaign form Bettiah in West Champaran during the 2014 LS polls, on being specifically asked if he was joining the race for PM.
His ‘obsession’ for PM continued even till recently when the SP-Congress alliance was badly trounced by the BJP in Uttar Pradesh assembly elections held in March this year.
As such, the JD-U launched fresh attempts to project Kumar as the opposition’s Prime Ministerial candidate in the aftermath of the Congress party suffering embarrassing defeat in UP polls.
Apparently, the JD-U questioned the “leadership” quality of the Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi under whose stewardship the party had gone to polls.
As part of the strategy, the JD-U leadership even extensively highlighted the statements of top Indian politicians who had “endorsed” the PM candidature of Kumar in the past at different forums.
Leaders like Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) chief Sharad Pawar, National Conference leader Farooq Abdullah, Rashtriya Janata Dal president Lalu Prasad and Jharkhand Vikas Morcha (JVM) chief Babulal Marandi had previously described Kumar as “PM materials”.
Kumar’s PM ambition, however, has met a premature death after the JD-U going back to the company of BJP against after a gap of four years and then Kumar himself publicly announcing that “none in capable of dislodging Narendra Modi in 2019 LS polls”.
Observers say Kumar looked in a tearing hurry to join the BJP for the reason best known to him.