Is Nitish Kumar’s fight for political relevance irrelevant?

Nitish Kumar had issues with Narendra Modi’s nomination as the BJP's prime ministerial candidate in 2013. In 2021, his chief ministership depends on BJP's support. Photo: PTI

When the prime minister of the day finds fault in your 'political DNA', your chances of winning him may not seem so bright. When your ally calls you a Bhasmasur (demon), you may know your list of friends is getting shorter. And when your own partymen express reservations against your somersaults, it may seem your political career is almost over. But for Nitish Kumar, the game is never over till it is. If anything, the seven-time Bihar chief minister has skillfully navigated the political potholes and managed to stay in power, if not relevant.

A series of recent developments in Bihar - demand for caste-based census, probe into the Pegasus controversy and a ‘soft-pitch’ for prime ministership - has led many to believe that Nitish Kumar is looking for an excuse to make another of his famous walkovers and working out ways for a change in the alliance with the BJP in the state.

Nitish Kumar had re-joined hands with the BJP in 2017 (after splitting with the Rashtriya Janata Dal or RJD) over alleged corruption by his deputy CM and RJD leader Tajeshwi Yadav. Incidentally, Nitish had entered the ‘mahagathbadhan’ (grand alliance) - with RJD, Congress and others - in 2015 after snapping ties with alliance partner BJP in 2013. Back then, Nitish Kumar had issues with Narendra Modi’s nomination as the prime ministerial candidate.

In August end, the JD(U) said Nitish Kumar has all the qualities to become the Prime Minister but he is not in the race for the post. Photo: PTI
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