The Bihar Chief Minister should move on to national-level politics and respecting the coalition dharma, hand over the reins to the BJP that has stood by him for so long, says Ratnesh Kushwaha
Post their historical victory in not one but two parliamentary elections consecutively, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) emerged as the most influential political party of the nation. In the present milieu, a significant number of BJP workers are of the view that Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar should follow the pragmatic path of career progression and start adding value to national politics, given his profound experience in the field.
The party hopes that while doing so, the Chief Minister will make way for the BJP to lead the State on the path of prosperity and success and the Janata Dal (United) (JD-U) will keep playing the all-important and pivotal role of coalition partner in Bihar and beyond.
In recent times, several BJP leaders, including former State chief and Rajya Sabha member CP Thakur and erstwhile Union Minister Sanjay Paswan, have urged Nitish Kumar to join mainstream politicians at the Centre on several occasions. The party is hoping that after Nitish Kumar goes on to the national political scene, he will hand over the reins of the State to the party and install a BJP Chief Minister.
These voices are not only coming from the BJP but from within the JD(U) as well. Recently, Member of Legislative Assembly Amarnath Gami put up banners expressing his views on the matter in his constituency of Hayaghat in Darbhanga district. The banners stated that in 2020, the Bihar Assembly elections would be fought and won by the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) under the leadership and on the basis of the work done by the Prime Minister as they had swept the parliamentary polls in Bihar due to Narendra Modi’s efforts and charisma.
For some time now, BJP workers, supporters and different segments of society are eager to see a BJP-led Government in Bihar albeit with the full support of its alliance partner JD(U) and party chief Nitish Kumar’s blessings. They feel that a change of guard would certainly be a boon for Bihar as the new Chief Minister would bring a fresh outlook and energy to the table and at the same time benefit from Nitish Kumar’s stewardship. They argue that since the advent of democracy, political transition has always been a reality and Nitish Kumar should accept this with grace and wholeheartedly bless the new leadership.
The BJP gave Nitish Kumar the top job in 2000 when the leader was unable to prove his majority and his Samta Party was an important but very small player in comparison. The feeling within the BJP is that it is time for the Chief Minister to return the favour bestowed upon him by the late Atal Bihari Vajpayee, who not only inducted him into the Union Cabinet but also projected him as the chief ministerial candidate for Bihar. The NDA won that election by the dint of hard work put in by BJP workers, not just for party candidates but also for JD(U) leaders.
In the 2005 Assembly elections, the BJP projected Nitish Kumar as the chief ministerial candidate for the NDA despite the fact that he lost from his traditional seat Barh in the 2004 Lok Sabha polls. After the NDA won the elections, Nitish Kumar became the Chief Minister of Bihar again.
In consonance with coalition dharma, the BJP has stood by Nitish Kumar for the last two decades and in the last Lok Sabha elections, the party gave up five of the seats held by it and contested in 17 to help the JD(U) chief accommodate his party leaders. Given the pro-BJP wave sweeping the country and the party’s considerable clout on the national scene, it is time for Nitish Kumar to show political astuteness and a big heart and make way for a BJP Chief Minister in the State.
The people of Bihar still recall Nitish Kumar’s first term as Chief Minister as a golden era of development and good governance. However, the credit for the success of the JD(U) stalwart’s subsequent and present tenures must be given to the diligence and efficiency shown by BJP ministers who gave the Chief Minister full cooperation. It’s not for nothing that the performance of BJP ministers has been appreciated by different Government and public agencies. In fact, Nitish Kumar himself spoke about being uncomfortable working with the Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) when he formed the Government with it in 2015.
Nitish Kumar’s equation with the NDA indicates that the BJP is sincerely committed towards the development of Bihar along-with the JD(U). Hence, in the interest of Bihar, he should make way for the BJP and follow the coalition dharma of reciprocation. The BJP has already played its part by giving unconditional support, cooperation and a free hand to the JD(U) chief in running the State for the last 15 years. It’s now time that Bihar benefits from a change of guard at the helm.
(The writer is a member of the BJP State Working Committee, Bihar)
Friday, 13 September 2019 | Ratnesh Kushwaha
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