Mumbai: Nitish Kumar-led JDU is in an alliance with the BJP in Bihar since 2017. CM Nitish Kumar also enjoys a healthy relationship with Home minister Amit Shah. However, the JDU supremo recently skipped the Niti Aayog meeting that was held on Sunday, hosted by PM Narendra Modi. Nitish’s absence from the meeting, with senior party leader Lallan Singh opening an attack against the BJP, speculations are rife that Mr. Kumar may not remain in an alliance with the saffron party anymore.
However, those who observe Bihar politics claim that it would not be surprising if Nitish Kumar jumps ship as there has been a long friction between his party and the BJP. There have been multiple instances in the last few years when the socialist leader and his party came to blows with ally BJP.
Instances of Nitish going against BJP:
On July 17, Kumar missed a meeting of chief ministers called by Union Home Minister Amit Shah to discuss issues related to the national flag and instead dispatched the BJP’s Tarkishor Prasad. He snubbed the BJP again by skipping dinner for incumbent President Ram Nath Kovind hosted by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, citing the swearing-in ceremony of seven newly elected members of the Legislative Council.
While the emergence of the rift between the allies can be traced to several events where the BJP and the JDU clashed, the most recent focus appears to be the Bihar assembly speaker Vijay Kumar Sinha’s failure to invite Kumar for Vidhan Sabha centenary celebrations. Sinha is from the BJP. It was the first time a prime minister had addressed the assembly, also at the request of President Vijay Kumar Sinha, who has disagreed with Kumar since taking office.
Previously in 2019, Home Minister Amit Shah managed to win support from opposition parties including BSP, AAP and BJD, but JDU’s Nitish Kumar, an ally of BJP, didn’t extend his support for the abolition of Article 370 as well as Triple Talaq. JDU MPs abstained on both bills.
Undercurrent of friction between the BJP and the JDU became more apparent on Monday, July 25 when Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar skipped the oath-taking ceremony of the president Droupadi Murmu. JDU’s Kushwaha tried to downplay the controversy over Kumar’s absence from Murmu’s oath. “It is not necessary for everyone to participate in all programs. Now the presidential elections are over and the swearing-in is just a formality. If the Chief Minister or someone else is not attending, it is not something that should be given much importance. He had a lot of other jobs, so maybe that’s why he didn’t go, “he said.
About a month ago, MLA and Ministers of JDU skipped an after-lunch session in which the BJP had suggested discussing who the “best legislator” was. The Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD), Congress, and left-wing parties also boycotted the House proceedings after the first half, as the president refused to allow a debate on the Agnipath plan, saying it was not in the state’s purview.
The two also clashed over the Agnipath scheme, the military’s short service recruitment scheme in the armed forces, as the BJP made it clear that they were unhappy with the way the chief minister handled massive protests across the state.
In July 2021, Nitish Kumar opposed it’s ally BJP on issues including the caste-based Census, the Pegasus spyware scandal and population control. Nitish Kumar, who belongs to the OBC caste, said that caste-based Census exercise should be conducted at least once in order to know the number of people belonging to different poor and marginalised castes in different regions.
The implementation of CAA and NRC was also one of the major issue over which sparked massive protests across the country in December 2019. In the parliament, Nitish Kumar did support the CAA but later he opposed it.
Nitish Kumar also took stand against NRC and made a terse statement with the aim of breaking the intensity with which BJP’s Amit Shah stated to implement NRC nationwide. He said, “Why NRC? We will not implement NRC in Bihar.”
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