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2-min read

Opposition Unity Bandwagon Ends With a Flat Even Before 2019 Ignition

Nitish Kumar, in the opposition ranks, was perhaps the only leader who had credibility, and most importantly, who also evoked hope in the ranks of ramshackle opposition line up.

Sumit Pande | News18.com

Updated:July 27, 2017, 9:11 AM IST
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Opposition Unity Bandwagon Ends With a Flat Even Before 2019 Ignition
Nitish Kumar (2nd from right) interacts with Bihar BJP chief Sushil Modi.
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New Delhi: In the last week of April this year, Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar flew into Delhi and drove straight into 10, Janpath. In a hurriedly called meeting, he had a one-on-one chat with the Congress President Sonia Gandhi.

The meeting though was said to have been held in the backdrop of the impending Presidential polls, but it had set the cat among the pigeons in the BJP camp.

There were speculations that the meeting was to chart out the future course of action at the national level, to build an alternative front at the Centre to take on the NDA.

Nitish Kumar, in the opposition ranks, was perhaps the only leader who had credibility, and most importantly, who also evoked hope in the ranks of ramshackle opposition line up. He was someone whose personal integrity was un-assailable. He had the credentials to take on Narendra Modi.

But exactly three months after that meeting with Sonia Gandhi, Nitish Kumar has walked out of the alliance with the RJD and Congress. With it comes to an end one of the most ambitious experiments in coalition politics of our times.

But most importantly, the Bihar breakup lends a severe blow to any opposition's attempts to put up a fight against Narendra Modi in 2019.

Congress may have been a minor player in the state politics, but it still was that critical glue which held together the two disparate groups in alliance. It was the big brother on which rested the onus of drawing the contours of a Mahagathbandhan at the national level.

Failure of the Bihar experiment will also be seen as Congress' growing inability to lead an alternative front at the Centre.

Amid all this manthan, it is the Modi-Shah duo who would appropriate the most sought after byproduct or amrit in this political churning. With less than two years to go for the elections, the Bihar breakup leaves the opposition in tatters. It strengthens the NDA.

It is a sweet revenge of sorts for the duo. Bihar was the first big loss for Modi and Shah ever since the two came together in Gujarat. Delhi was a minor blip. But Bihar loss, had it not been wrested in UP, could have triggered a chain effect.

As for Nitish Kumar, he's been the chief minister of one of the largest and politically most influential states of the country. The next pedestal that he could possibly aim for was that of the Prime Minister of India.

BJP, in its current position of strength, would obviously have not offered him that job.

Nitish Kumar could have emerged as the choice of the alternative front. The announcement to that effect did not come for a very long time. Or was the Bihar CM, in his calculations convinced that with or without him, 2019 would be a tough battle to win. A really tough battle indeed.
| Edited by: Bijaya Das
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