Weeks after Maharashtra’s state politics captured the nation’s attention, Bihar is now in focus in the midst of buzz over tensions brewing between the Nitish Kumar-led JD(U) and the BJP. A key meeting of all party MPs and MLAs has been called by the chief minister on Tuesday morning. The opposition, meanwhile, is sending out signals that it is ready to embrace Kumar if he decides to quit the NDA coalition in the state.
Here are top ten points on the current political drama brewing in Bihar:
1. Nitish Kumar’s absence from the NITI Aayog meeting on Sunday, which was chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, suggested that ties between the ruling coalition partners in the state were getting strained. This was said to be the third government meeting that Kumar had skipped in the recent past. On the same day, however, Kumar was attending other events in Bihar.
2. On Monday, Nitish Kumar briefly met his deputy Tarkishore Prasad of the Bharatiya Janata Party.
3. Ahead of Tuesday’s huddle, Upendra Kushwaha of the JD(U) was quoted as saying by news agency ANI: “Everything is fine in the NDA alliance. Today we are not making any claim but Nitish Kumar has all the qualifications to become the Prime Minister.”
4. Tensions escalated over the weekend as senior leader RCP Singh quit the JD(U) amid corruption allegations. Post the resignation, came the party’s announcement that it would no longer have a representation in the union council of ministers. “We stick to our stand of 2019 when, after the Lok Sabha polls, we had decided not to join the government at the Centre,” JD(U) national president Rajiv Ranjan Singh – aka Lalan Singh – told reporters on Sunday.
5. On Monday, he was quoted as saying by ANI: “I read in the newspapers that RCP Singh has said that he was told by Union Home Minister Amit Shah that his name had been approved for ministership. He claimed to have taken oath after informing the CM.”. He further said: “But this only confirms what we have been accusing RCP Singh of. Our charge is that RCP Singh became a minister as per his own free will. He has dropped the name of Shah. Does Shah belong to our party? Can the BJP decide which JD-U leader will become a minister?”
6. Meanwhile, opposition parties – the Lalu Prasad-led Rashtriya Janata Dal and its ally, the Congress – are also set to hold meetings on Tuesday.
7. In the 243-member state assembly, the BJP has 77 members while the JD(U) has 45 members.
8. The RJD – with 127 MLAs – is the single largest party. Its leaders have already been giving statements that it would be ready to back Nitish Kumar if he quits the NDA.
9. In 2017, Kumar had walked out of an alliance with the RJD and the Congress due to differences.
10. Meanwhile, Chirag Paswan is back to attacking Nitish Kumar after the JD(U) national president hinted they were aware of the “Chirag model”, suggesting that Paswan had fielded candidates against the JD(U) in the 2020 state elections. “If they have to settle scores with BJP, they should go straight and do it, not use Chirag’s name. Why cannot Nitish Kumar talk to Prime Minister Narendra Modi? He should not try to hide behind Chirag model to cover up his inefficiency,” Chirag Paswan said on Monday.
(With inputs from ANI, PTI)