Does Nitish Kumar Have A Real Shot At Being PM?

by Ujjawal Mishra - Sep 6, 2022 07:01 PM +05:30 IST
Does Nitish Kumar Have A Real Shot At Being PM?Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar and Prime Minister Narendra Modi

Nitish Kumar is hard at work trying to bring about opposition unity and have a crack at the prime ministerial seat. He is bound to fail.

Context: The Bihar CM is currently in Delhi meeting opposition leaders.

  • He has already met Rahul Gandhi.

  • He is also scheduled to meet NCP chief Sharad Pawar, AAP chief Arvind Kejriwal, and JD(S) leader H D Kumaraswamy.

  • He is also set to meet SP chief Akhilesh Yadav and Sitaram Yechury of the CPI(M).

Cracks in Kumar's plan. Telangana CM and TRS president K Chandrashekar Rao (KCR) recently provided a reality check to his Bihar counterpart.

  • KCR visited Patna last week to talk to Kumar about forging an anti-BJP and anti-Congress front.

  • He is hopeful of the chances of a ‘third front’ of this kind in the 2024 Lok Sabha polls.

  • The Telangana CM also fancies himself as a PM candidate.

  • The disagreement between Kumar and KCR over the ‘third front’ spilled out into the open in Patna recently.

  • While KCR considers the Congress dead weight, Kumar says the Congress and the left have to be an integral part of an anti-BJP front.

So much for a united front!

Kumar's un-winnability is hurting his plans too.

  • His party is not likely to win a sizable number of Lok Sabha seats from Bihar.

  • In the 2014 Lok Sabha elections, which the JD(U) contested with the RJD against the BJP, Kumar’s party won only two seats.

  • The JD(U) ditched the RJD in 2017 and rejoined the NDA.

  • In 2019, the BJP allotted 17 seats to the JD(U). PM Modi and other top BJP leaders campaigned for the JD(U). Which is why the JD(U) won 16 seats.

  • But the JD(U) will once again contest the 2024 Lok Sabha polls in alliance with the RJD. And the results in 2024 are likely to mirror 2014.

  • Be it the TMC in West Bengal, the TRS in Telangana, or the YSRCP in Andhra Pradesh — they are most likely to win many more Lok Sabha seats than the JD(U) in 2024.

Kumar's credibility is down in the dumps since he left the NDA and joined hands with the RJD.

  • He left the BJP for the second time in nine years and embraced Lalu Yadav’s RJD for the second time in five years last month.

  • Some in the opposition ranks suspect him to be the BJP’s ‘trojan horse’ in the opposition camp.

Quote. “We do not trust Nitish Kumar. He is too much of a turncoat and has no political morals. He can backstab anyone anytime for his selfish political interests,” a Trinamool Lok Sabha MP told Swarajya.

Trinamool's suspicions. Mamata Banerjee's projection of herself as a PM candidate is also hurting Kumar's already-low credibility.

  • Banerjee also tried the same tactic in 2019, to disastrous results. Her party was reduced to just 22 seats in Bengal.

  • TMC believes that regional parties should focus on taking on the BJP in their own turfs and win as many seats as possible in their states.

"Sushasan Babu" no more: Kumar's lacklustre performance as CM is getting exposed too.

  • Bihar, despite being led by Kumar for nearly 17 years, continues to lag behind many other states in most development indices.

  • The state falls short in education, health care, sanitation, infrastructure development, and employment generation.

  • Its economy is in a miserable condition and the state is wrecked by severe poverty and unemployment.

  • Kumar has failed to attract private investment.

So, then, which model of governance will Kumar take to the rest of India?

Bottom line: With the RJD sniping at Kumar's heels and no progress report to show for his work, 2024 will mark the end of Kumar's political life, let alone propelling him to the PM's post

Adapted from Jaideep Mazumdar's article.

Ujjawal Mishra is a Staff Writer at Swarajya. He tweets @Ujjawal1Mishra.
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